The State Department accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of taking congressional testimony by Secretary of State John Kerry out of context in Netanyahu’s address to a joint meeting of Congress Tuesday.
What Kerry said in Congressional testimony:
[I]f you have a civilian power plant that’s producing power legitimately and not a threat to proliferation, you could have as many as 190,000 or more centrifuges[.]
What Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said:
He [Iran’s Supreme Leader] says, Iran plans to have 190,000 centrifuges, not 6,000 or even the 19,000 that Iran has today, but 10 times that amount—190,000 centrifuges enriching uranium. With this massive capacity, Iran could make the fuel for an entire nuclear arsenal and this in a matter of weeks, once it makes that decision.
My long-time friend, John Kerry, Secretary of State, confirmed last week that Iran could legitimately possess that massive centrifuge capacity when the deal expires.
Now I want you to think about that. The foremost sponsor of global terrorism could be weeks away from having enough enriched uranium for an entire arsenal of nuclear weapons and this with full international legitimacy.
Out of context? Not so much, FactCheck.org notwithstanding (their statement, Kerry wasn’t saying that “Iran could legitimately possess” 190,000 centrifuges. He was saying that “a civilian power plant that’s producing power legitimately” could have 190,000 or more centrifuges, simply restates what Netanyahu said Kerry said—that Iran could possess as many as 190,000 centrifuges under the Kerry/Obama deal). The Obama/Kerry deal on offer to Iran would allow Iran to have “peaceful,” “civilian” nuclear power plants “producing power legitimately.”
What’s key here is this. Those centrifuges, busily spinning away to produce fuel-grade uranium for peaceful nuclear power plants, could just as easily be spinning away through additional purification cycles to produce weapons-grade uranium. Netanyahu understands that.
John Kerry and Barack Obama just as clearly understand that; their cynicism and crocodile ire over Netanyahu’s speech aside.
See the centrifuges spin. Spin, Centrifuges, spin.