Edelstein: Letting Iran have nukes is like giving a gun to a murderer

Knesset speaker to Italian counterpart: Sanctions proved to harm Iran's economy, prompt Rouhani's deceptive "strategy of hypocrisy".

Yuli Edelstein addresses Italian parliamentarians 370 (photo credit: Knesset Speaker's Office)
Yuli Edelstein addresses Italian parliamentarians 370
(photo credit: Knesset Speaker's Office)
Sanctions on Iran proved to be effective, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein told his Italian counterparts on a visit to Rome Tuesday.
Edelstein met with Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino, Italian Senate President Pietro Grasso, Italian Chamber of Deputies President Laura Boldrini and members of the Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Monday and Tuesday and discussed peace talks and Iran. He is scheduled to meet Pope Francis on Wednesday.
The Knesset Speaker emphasized to Bonino the importance of a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear threat that will ensure that they will not be able to obtain such weapons.
“Sanctions on Iran proved themselves and harmed the Iranian economy,” Edelstein said. “Iranian citizens are suffering from the sanctions; therefore, [Iranian President Hassan] Rouhani chose a strategy of hypocrisy toward the world through lies and tweets, while he tries to develop nuclear weapons.”
In response to Bonino’s questions about the peace process with the Palestinians, Edelstein opined that the lack of leaks from the talks on either side is a positive sign for negotiations.
At the same time, Edelstein said there are “objective problems” with the talks.
“Even if there is a signed agreement, we have to ask whether [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] represents Hamas in Gaza,” the Knesset Speaker pointed out.
“There are still serious problems in connection to Jerusalem and refugees.”
“A good agreement doesn’t end in a handshake and a photo in the press, but with real cooperation between nations in areas like the environment, water, agriculture and others,” he stated.
The Knesset Speaker addressed the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Tuesday, and in response to a lawmaker’s question why Israel does not get rid of its nuclear weapons, he said the two countries are not comparable.
“That’s like a criminal saying that he wants a gun because a police officer has a gun,” Edelstein quipped. “Besides, if the world lets Iran have nuclear weapons, there will be an intensive arms race in the Middle East. It would be a nightmare.”
The world needs to ask itself, Edelstein said, why a country with oil would spend so much money and effort on nuclear energy.
In reference to continued construction in settlements, Edelstein said “building is not an obstacle to peace. The proof for that is that we left northern Gaza in 2005. Unilateral plans did not prove themselves and only brought death to Israeli civilians.”
“To Israel,” he explained, “Judea and Samaria is not occupied territory, but disputed territory.”
Edelstein asked Boldrini to make sure the Chamber of Deputies fights “absurd decisions” in the EU, like the directive not to support institutions and businesses in the West Bank and the Council of Europe’s condemnation of circumcision.