Steinitz: Iran wants to both keep nuclear program and salvage its economy

International Relations Minister says Israel is not opposed to a diplomatic solution, but it must follow the Libyan track, rather than the North Korean.

October 2, 2013 14:50
1 minute read.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani holds press conference in New York, September 27, 2013.

Rouhani press conference in New York 370. (photo credit: Screenshot)

Europe and the United States both understand that Iran is using negotiations with the international community to both rescue its economy, currently crumbling under the weight of heavy sanctions, and its military nuclear program, the cause of those sanctions, International Relations Minister Yuval Steinitz said Wednesday.

The minister was echoing comments made the night before by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the United Nations General Assembly, when he termed Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's election a ploy aimed at easing sanctions. Rouhani, Netanyahu said, was a "wolf in sheep's clothing."

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Steinitz told the radio that Israel is not opposed to a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue, as long as that solution is similar to a successful one agreed upon with Libya a decade ago, rather than the failed attempt to oversee North Korea's nuclear program.

Coalition MK Amram Mitzna of Hatnua, meanwhile, told Israel Radio on Wednesday that Netanyahu's declaration that Israel was willing to act alone in stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons was arrogant and has no basis in reality. Mitzna added that Netanyahu has painted an image of Israel as a country that prizes military action above all else.

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