Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein (L) meets Austrian President Heinz Fischer.
(photo credit: KNESSET SPEAKER YULI EDELSTEIN'S OFFICE)
Israel will only accept an agreement that does not allow Tehran to develop any nuclear weapons, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said in a meeting with Austrian President Heinz Fischer on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, many in the international community are forgiving toward Iran’s new government [under President Hassan Rouhani],” Edelstein said. “An option in which the Iranians will be able to develop ‘peaceful’ nuclear projects or energy is unacceptable.”
A good agreement is possible, the Knesset speaker told Fischer, pointing out that Libya gave up on its nuclear project. Conversely, he said, the West did not stop North Korea, which now has nuclear weapons and is a threat.
Fischer responded that he hopes there will be a good deal between the West and Iran, with which Israel will be able to live.
The Austrian president asked what Israel will do if it considers the agreement unacceptable.
“Israel maintains the right to defend its citizens and its country in every way possible,” Edelstein responded.
The two men discussed Israel’s relations with the Palestinians, with Fischer expressing his opinion that if Israel signs a peace treaty with the Palestinian Authority, the situation in the Middle East will improve and extremists will be weakened.
“Israel will not sign a peace treaty just to please the international community,” Edelstein said. “Unfortunately, [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s UN] speech proves that his stance on Israel is negative and that he lies.
“Since [Abbas] proved once again that he is not a partner for peace, Israel has no choice but to try to reach peace through cooperation on topics like the environment, water, education, agriculture and others. That is my perception,” he said.
Via such cooperation, Israel can isolate the extremists and build a basis for peace with others, Edelstein explained.