19 Nov 16. The United Nations’ nuclear agency announced Thursday that for the second time since the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal in January, Iran has violated its limits on stockpiling “heavy water,” a component that can be combined with uranium to produce weapons-grade plutonium. The head of the IAEA, Yukiya Amano, warned Iran of the dangers of noncompliance with the agreement:
“It is important that such situations should be avoided in future in order to maintain international confidence in the implementation of the [deal], which represents a clear gain for nuclear verification in Iran.”
The latest Iranian violation was initially reported last week, just days after an Iranian parliamentary claimed that it was abiding by the terms of the deal. (Source: theisraelproject.org)
18 Nov 16. It took more than seven years for Israel to reach its 2010 agreement with Washington on its first squadron of F-35s, the debut pair of which is scheduled to arrive here next month. The process involved intensive staff work within the Israel Air Force (IAF) under three commanders; continuous coordination with American government and industry representatives; and the support of three Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chiefs and the same number of successive defense ministers and prime ministers. But according to explosive headlines here over the past few days, it took less than a year to conclude an Israeli-German agreement for three new submarines; just six months if one counts back to the removal in May of former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who opposed the deal.
While a former Ministry of Defense (MoD) director-general last February conditionally endorsed the need to start procuring submarines in the out years well beyond the recently approved five-year plan, the deal was essentially negotiated by one office and spearheaded by one man: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. According to Netanyahu’s office, the Israeli Cabinet unanimously approved the German deal on Oct. 26. Even now, details of the estimated €1.2bn (US $1.3bn) deal with the government of German Chancellor Angela Merkel remain a mystery to the Israeli Navy and the IDF General Staff.
“The Navy is in initial study phases for a next-generation submarine,” a general officer here told Defense News on Thursday.
“It’s going to take years of work since we’re talking about an entirely different submarine from the Dolphin or the Dolphin AIP,” he said, referring to the first three Israeli-designed Dolphins and the follow-on, three air-independent propulsion submarines contracted with ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS).
When asked about Navy involvement in the recently approved deal, the officer said: “Whatever went on did not happen at the professional level. It’s all political, and we’re not dealing with these stories.”
A top-tier industry executive whose firm has worked hand-in-hand with the Israeli Navy to design a good portion of the combat weapons suites supporting Israel’s undersea force said he had no idea what the deal involved. “We were never approached by anyone to prepare anything associated with this package. It’s all so highly unusual,” the executive told Defense News.
Israel’s daily Ma’ariv first reported last month that Netanyahu’s office was secretly negotiating with counterparts in Berlin a package of three nuclear-capable submarines and two anti-submarine surface (ASW) ships in order to prepare for an eventual confrontation with Iran later in the next decade, after the nuclear deal with Tehran expires.
According to Ma’ariv senior security analyst Ben Caspit, Netanyahu secured assurances that Berlin would underwrite some 30 percent of the costs of the package.
But it wasn’t until a Nov. 15 report on Israel’s Channel 10 that the story gained traction, when the network flagged a potential conflict of interest between Netanyahu and the Kiel, Germany-based TKMS shipyards where the new submarines are to be built. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Neta