Steinitz: Iran may want an agreement, but it's liable to be 'Munich agreement'

Washington Post releases details of internal Israeli documents on Iran, saying Iran can create bomb fuel "within weeks".

By JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
September 24, 2013 12:04
2 minute read.
Yuval Steinitz

Yuval Steinitz 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)

 
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NEW YORK – For Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, the focus of this UN General Assembly session is absolutely Iran and Iran’s nuclear program.

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, Iran.

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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.”

“Rouhani really 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 policy.”

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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 the rhetoric.”

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