Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks at a party event, September 13, 2017.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman slammed Great Britain, France and Germany Saturday night for their opposition to the steps US President Donald Trump announced against the Iranian nuclear deal.
The leaders of the three European countries, whose companies have made massive business deals with Iran, issued a joint statement saying they “stand committed” to the deal and are concerned about the implications of Trump’s refusal to back it.
“The Europeans continue to put their heads in the sand, exactly like they did before World War II,” Liberman told Channel 2. “The leaders of Europe prefer to run away from reality.” Liberman praised Trump for sending the Iran deal back to Congress for reevaluation, calling it a “courageous and correct decision.” The defense minister added that “Israel must be ready to handle Iran by itself without the US.”
Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon said at a cultural event in Kiryat Ono on Saturday that Trump had made a mistake.
“The Iran deal is clearly bad because it enables the Islamic Republic to achieve a military nuclear capability,” he said. “But instead of arguing with the partners to the agreement, who oppose reopening it, it would have been better for the US to focus its efforts on pressuring the Iranian regime with sanctions due to its violations of UN Security Council decisions on terrorism, undermining regimes in the area, human rights violations and distributing weapons and missiles.”
Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis praised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for “waking up the world to the dangers of the Iranian threat,” and ridiculed the opposition for saying that Netanyahu's party, Likud, was fear-mongering and using the issue for political gain.
Netanyahu posted a video on his Facebook page crediting himself for Trump’s move and mocking criticism of his efforts against the Iran deal by opposition heads Isaac Herzog and Yair Lapid, as well as by Channel 2 commentator Amnon Abramovich.
Labor Party chairman Avi Gabbay said Netanyahu’s behavior on the Iranian issue had harmed Israel diplomatically.
“Those who burn bridges in the diplomatic game stop having influence,” Gabbay said in a speech at a cultural event in Beersheba on Saturday. “This is what happened to Netanyahu with the Iran deal. He is good at speeches but has failed at negotiating and, therefore, we had no impact on the agreement. I hope that this time Netanyahu will behave differently.”
Gabbay welcomed Trump’s decision to harm the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’
terrorist operation financially and said the next step must be amending the agreement and lengthening it so Iran will not be able to return to enriching uranium.
Zionist Union MK Omer Bar-Lev said he was glad Trump had not decided to cancel the agreement, because that could have enabled Iran to race forward to nuclear capability.
He said it was right of Trump to push for new sanctions against Iran due to its development of missiles and continued support of terrorism.
“Sanctions against the Revolutionary Guard could be a beneficial step to restraining Iranian support for terrorism, including Hezbollah and Hamas,” Bar-Lev said.