Obama adviser wants Israel to give up nukes
His group helping White House defend deal with Iran
TEL AVIV – The president of a think tank that arranged a conference call Monday between the White House and progressive activist organizations in which participants discussed how to coordinate public defense of President Obama’s pending Iran deal has another ultimate target in mind.
Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, wants Israel to give up its nuclear weapons, arguing such a move will ensure Iran halts its illicit nuclear program and will help to create a Mideast nuclear-free zone.
On Monday, White House officials held a private strategy conference call with progressive organizations to discuss ways of convincing lawmakers to support a deal with Iran being brokered by the Obama administration.
The conference call organized by Ploughshares Fund, an anti-nuclear weapons advocacy group, had about 100 participants.
Cirincione previously advised Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign on nuclear issues.
The Ploughshares president outlined in his 2008 book, “Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons,” that he favors Israel giving up its nuclear weapons to ensure Iran doesn’t obtain nukes.
He presented his position in a March 2005 opinion article for The Globalist, “Iran and Israel’s Nuclear Weapons.”
In the piece, Cirincione stated, “Now is the time to put U.S. muscle behind long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a nuclear-free Middle East region” with specific focus on Israel’s nuclear weapons.
“Everyone already knows about Israel’s bombs in the closet,” Cirincione wrote. “Bringing them out into the open and putting them on the table as part of a regional deal may be the only way to prevent others from building their own bombs in their basements.”
For Cirincione, targeting Israel’s nuclear program is a long-term policy aim.
“It will not be easy and will likely take years to fashion such an agreement. That is why there is no time to lose.”
Israel is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons, yet, as a policy, the government does not acknowledge it.
Israel is said to have launched its nuclear program as early as the late 1940s and early 1950s.
In March, at about the same time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress, the Obama administration approved a Freedom of Information Act request that resulted in the release of an extensive Pentagon report discussing Israel’s nuclear weapon capabilities.
‘An issue of the presidency’
On Monday, the Washington Free Beacon reported it obtained an audio recording of the conference call that day arranged by the Ploughshares Fund. In the call, White House officials described Obama’s Iran negotiations as the president’s “signature foreign policy accomplishment,” a policy that must in turn be supported by Democrats.
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