Yuval Steinitz 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
The only way to prevent a nuclear Iran is by the international community posing
a credible military threat and not taking seriously the possibility of a
positive change in the June 14 Iranian election, Strategic Affairs Minister
Yuval Steinitz said in a briefing to diplomats and journalists organized by The
Israel Project at Jerusalem’s King David Hotel on Tuesday.
officials have expressed concern in recent days that following the Iranian
election, the international community will soften its stance on Iran to give the
Islamic Republic’s new president a chance to negotiate a diplomatic agreement.
The officials have warned that the replacement of outspoken outgoing president
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with a dry technocrat could help Iran lull the world into
letting it develop nuclear weapons.
Steinitz mocked the election, noting
that out of nearly 700 men and women who had announced their candidacy, Supreme
Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has disqualified all but eight.
the diplomats, Steinitz asked if such undemocratic standards would be acceptable
in their countries.
“The Iranian election will make no difference
whatsoever to Iran’s nuclear ambitions,” Steinitz said. “It makes no difference
who wins. If there are those who want to delay their decision about what to do
with Iran for the election, they can, but we think this is high time to give
Iran a credible military threat. That is the only way to get them to change
Steinitz praised the international community for putting
increasingly challenging sanctions on Iran, saying “time is running out” to
prevent Iran’s nuclearization. He estimated the time left as “a matter of months
or a year or so.”
Reiterating comparisons to North Korea he made at last
month’s Jerusalem Post Conference in New York, Steinitz said a nuclear Iran was
the equivalent of 30 North Koreas, because of Iran’s international ambitions and
the scale of its nuclear program. He said Iran was developing enough centrifuges
to create fissile material for 20 bombs, but it wanted
“Preventing the nuclearization of Iran is the No. 1 challenge of
our generation,” Steinitz said.
“Their goal is the mass production of
nuclear weapons, which would create a more dangerous world. You think the world
is dangerous now? Wait until this fanatical regime gets a few dozen nuclear
Despite a lengthy question and answer session, none of the
journalists and diplomats asked Steinitz about the Palestinian
Steinitz recently changed his views on that issue. In a 2008
Jerusalem Post interview, Steinitz said the twostate solution “should be dead,”
but in an April interview ahead of the conference, he said “I am in favor of
Netanyahu’s idea of two states for two peoples.”