Gilad Erdan 370.
(photo credit: Screenshot)
Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan on Thursday rejected claims by US Secretary of State John Kerry that Israel should not criticize a potential nuclear deal with Iran before it is done.
Speaking at at an Institute for National Security Studies conference in Tel Aviv, the Likud minister said, "I was astounded to hear John Kerry's remarks about why the Prime Minister is criticizing the agreement being formulated in Geneva without waiting for it to be signed. I have not heard such a claim for many years."
Erdan continued: "This is a country that wants to destroy Israel and the conditions that will enable it to carry out its wishes. What do they expect from an Israeli prime minister? Not to cry out when the knife is in the hand, but only when it is across our throat?"
Erdan said that the fact that parts of the discussions between Iran and the West that took place behind closed doors have gone public has allowed for an additional delay in a deal being finalized "and perhaps even an improvement in the terms of the agreement."
Erdan reiterated Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's claims that the deal allows Iran to keep the important parts
of its nuclear program while giving up little.
"Iranian Foreign Minister [Mohammad Javad] Zarif and his cohorts are going around Geneva and it is impossible to wipe the smiles off their faces; even they cannot really believe the ease with which they have succeeded in wrecking the sanctions regime."
Erdan rejected the notion that the agreement would be a "first step" deal
as it has been called.
"We must not be mistaken - an interim agreement will be a permanent agreement. All those involved in the agreement must understand that the moment Iran becomes a nuclear threshold state an arms race will begin in the Middle East and regional uncertainty will increase."