Intelligence and Transportation Minister Israel Katz with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono, October 24, 2017. .
(photo credit: INTELLIGENCE AND TRANSPORTATION MINISTER ISRAEL KATZ'S SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz called on Japan to back efforts to amend the Iran nuclear agreement Tuesday in a meeting with the country's foreign minister, according to a statement from his ministry.
Echoing the rhetoric of many who oppose staying in the nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Katz warned that Iran will become a Middle Eastern version of North Korea if not contained.
"Iran must be stopped today so that it doesn't become the North Korea of tomorrow," he said during his official visit to Japan, according to the statement.
Katz met with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono to discuss strengthening Japan's involvement in the Middle East, and the importance of Tokyo's support for peace and stability in the region.
This comes as US President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly referred to the deal as an "embarrassment," is working with Congressional Republicans to pass "trigger" legislation that would impose new terms
on the parties involved in the Iran deal and snap sanctions on Iran back into place if it manufactures, deploys or tests warhead-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles. A draft of the proposal was first seen by the press on October 20.
"Japan stands at the front line against North Korea, just as Israel is on the front line with Iran," Katz said. "The lesson from North Korea is that dictatorships must not be allowed to achieve nuclear capability, and Iran must be prevented from achieving missile capability that will threaten the region and the world."
Katz and Tono agreed to set up a joint team to advance Katz’s Tracks for Peace project of regional transportation, which aims to connect Israel, the Palestinians, Jordan, the Gulf states and Iraq through a railroad network. The Japanese showed great interest in the project, the statement from Katz’s office read.
Tomorrow, Minister Katz will continue his diplomatic visit to the region and meet with Japan's envoy to the Middle East and the intelligence agencies.Michael Wilner contributed to this report.