Defense Ministry backs down from Iran deal comparison to Nazi era Munich agreement

Ministry blames media for "misunderstanding" earlier statement, denied it was comparing Iran deal to Munich pact.

August 8, 2016 21:23
2 minute read.
Avigdor Liberman

Avigdor Liberman. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)


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The Defense Ministry issued a clarification on Monday to a statement released on Friday that slammed the the Iran nuclear deal and made reference to the failed 1938 Munich pact with Nazi Germany.

In its clarification statement, the Ministry blamed “the media” of attributing a “mistaken significance” to last week’s statement, saying, “We wish to clarify that the State of Israel and Israeli defense establishment will continue to work in close and full cooperation with the US, out of a deep appreciation and mutual respect.”

Israel, it added, remains “deeply concerned that even after the nuclear deal with Iran, the Iranian leadership continues to declare that its central goal is the destruction of the State of Israel, and continues to threaten the existence in words and deeds.”

The Ministry listed recent Iranian actions, like fast-tracking its ballistic missile program, which produces projectiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons, holding official military parades with missiles that have the words “erase Israel” written on them, and holding Holocaust denial cartoon competitions.

It also accused Tehran of “continuously promoting terrorism against Jewish and Israeli targets around the world, directly and through Iran’s proxies, Hamas and Hezbollah.”

“As a result, even if Iran keeps to the nuclear agreement, its open and official policy of striving to destroy Israel robs it [Iran] of its legitimacy in the international community,” the statement said.

Nevertheless, the Defense Ministry said, since the agreement was signed, a “long list of political and economic leaders from around the world are conducting business in Tehran, when a significant portion of the billions of dollars earned by Iran is invested in military force-building and promoting an illegal ballistic missile program.”

Differences of opinion between Israel and the US does not “in any way” harm “our deep appreciation to the US and to the US President for their enormous contribution to Israel’s national security, and to the great importance with which we view the strong alliance between the two states,” the Ministry said. It denied that Friday’s statement was aimed at comparing the Iran agreement to the Munich pact. “We apologize if it was interpreted differently,” the Ministry said.

On Friday, the Defense Ministry released a highly unusual and strongly worded statement following remarks by President Obama, who said Israel recognized that Iran was upholding the Iran nuclear deal .

“The Israeli defense establishment believes that agreements have value only if they are based on an existing reality, and that they have no value if the facts on the ground are completely the opposite of [the concepts] on which an agreement is based on,” the ministry said.

“The Munich agreement did not prevent the Second World War and the Holocaust, precisely because their basic assumption, that Nazi Germany could be a partner to any kind of agreement, was wrong, and because the leaders of the world at that time ignored the explicit statements by Hitler and the rest of the leaders of Nazi Germany,” the ministry added.

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