NEW YORK – For Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, the focus of this UN
General Assembly session is absolutely Iran and Iran’s nuclear
Ahead of the upcoming meeting of the five permanent members of
the UN Security Council plus Germany, Steinitz told The Jerusalem Post on Monday
that he will be meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to discuss “a
variety of things,” including the situation in Syria and possibly the
Palestinian situation. But first on the docket for Steinitz is, of course,
In an interview with the Post on September 5, Steinitz said Iran was
“more dangerous than North Korea.” On Monday, Steinitz called the Iranian
nuclear project “the most critical concern of our time.”
wants negotiations,” Steinitz said. “He’d probably like to achieve an agreement.
But what kind of agreement? Will it be like the one that was achieved with North
Korea? We know what was the final result.
“I think after this terrible
mistake, this terrible failure with North Korea, we have to be extremely
cautious not to repeat the same mistake.”
Steinitz also compared such a
potential agreement to a “Munich agreement,” referring to the appeasement treaty
that eventually sparked World War II.
“Let’s wait and see what tomorrow’s
speech will bring,” Steinitz said. “If he will make some significant,
substantial changes, complying with Security Council resolutions, or at least
postponing enrichment, this might be the beginning of a different
Steinitz pointed out that despite Rouhani’s assertions that he
wants to negotiate, he has not mentioned stopping uranium enrichment or halting
nuclear development, nor has he agreed to comply with the UN Security Council
resolutions aimed at Iran.
“It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” Steinitz
said. “People should understand, this is a global threat.”
In fact, an
Israeli government official told The Washington Post this week that with the
speed at which the centrifuges are currently spinning, Iran could have enough
pure uranium for bomb fuel, thereby effectively negating any agreement that
might surface for Iran to hand over its stockpile.
The minister said he
wasn’t yet sure whether he’d be attending Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s
speech on Tuesday afternoon.
Steinitz had much to say about the
glad-handing and kindly words that have been coming from the Iranian government
since Rouhani’s election in June.
“We see a different rhetoric, but no
different substance,” Steinitz said, echoing his previous comments to the Post
on Rouhani’s diplomatic prowess.
“It’s softer, much more comfortable, but
we haven’t seen any change on the ground, and really no substantial change in