It has been four days since the IAEA-Iran inspections cooperation deal expired and the Islamic Republic seems to indicate it’s in no rush to answer whether cooperation would continue.
You would think the sky was falling, but it isn’t.
It has been four days since the IAEA-Iran inspections deal expired, and even on Monday the Islamic Republic seemed to indicate it was in no rush to say whether cooperation would continue.
If the world is finally blind regarding the nuclear program at a moment when Tehran can already enrich uranium up to the 60% level, only one rung down from the 90% weaponized level, how come Israel and the West are so calm?
Why isn’t the world freaked out that this could be the moment that the ayatollahs are breaking out to a nuclear weapon and giving 48-hour ultimatums for a preemptive strike?
Sure, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has made statements in recent days suggesting that time eventually could run out on the JCPOA nuclear-deal negotiations.
France, the IAEA and some others have expressed angst over the situation.
But no one is even threatening a perfunctory emergency referral to the UN Security Council for a high-minded condemnation.
Some of the explanation for the Europeans could be that they do not tend to take action even in a crisis.
Maybe the same could be said for the Biden administration, which to date has mostly emphasized diplomacy over force.
Yet, there is also no sense of emergency from Israel.
There are regular statements by Israeli officials warning about holes in the JCPOA and about Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi.
But there are no imminent threats from Jerusalem designed to force the Islamic Republic to immediately reinstate the inspections or face the consequences.
Part of the answer is probably that several Iranian IAEA deadlines have come and gone without Tehran taking any leap forward, and a new deal has already been worked out.
All of its nuclear violations have been slow, incremental and forecasted in advance so as to not surprise or provoke the global community.
So what if four days have passed.
There is a strong expectation that since even hardliner Raisi has endorsed a return to the JCPOA, that is the path the ayatollahs are on, and this is a minor technical face-saving issue.
Even as Iran on Monday refused to recommit to IAEA inspections, its officials noticeably made sure to keep the possibility of a return to inspections open.
One Iranian parliamentary official said the IAEA would never see all of the recorded footage of Iran’s nuclear facilities, which it is holding on to.
But a different official said the footage was not being destroyed, which means it could still be quietly turned over at some later point.
However, all of these reasons are probably secondary to the real explanation of why Israel and the West are more perturbed than anxious.
The real reason is: Boom! All of the key Iranian nuclear facilities have been blown up recently.
Two different facilities at Natanz were blown up in July 2020 and April 2021.
After Iranian statements that they had recovered from these attacks, The Jerusalem Post learned from Israeli defense sources that this was not true, and Tehran’s nuclear program is in a sling or worse.
This was later confirmed by an IAEA report that, when read according to the timing of the April 2021 attack, showed how handicapped Tehran’s uranium enrichment is due to destroyed centrifuges.
Last week, there was an attack on a key Iranian nuclear facility at Karaj, essentially replacing Natanz, which was repeatedly blown up.
It is as if Iran has a nuclear ship that sprouts a dozen new leaks every time they fill one of the old leaks.
None of this means Iran is not a threat. If the IAEA were blind for a longer period, say, several weeks, there would be much greater concern from Israel and globally.
But it does mean that if Iran needs a bit more time to sulk before offering a face-saving formula for continuing IAEA cooperation, Jerusalem does not yet need to lose any sleep.