Steinitz: World willing to cheat itself over Iran

Minister says Israel won't join "false celebration" over interim deal; says room for legitimate argument between Israel, US on Iran.

Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz at UN 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)
Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz at UN 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)
Israel remains firm in in its belief that the agreement taking shape between the international community and Iran is bad, and won’t join international “celebrations” over the signing of an interim deal, Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Tuesday.
The “world is cheating itself” over the deal, Steinitz, who also holds the Strategic Affairs and International Relations portfolios, told an energy and business conference in Ramat Gan.
“Tomorrow, there will be a return to the negotiations table in Geneva, and in light of the agreement taking shape, I’d like to clarify that the government of Israel believes this is a bad deal. No one can force us to take part in the celebration, which could be a fake celebration.
“It’s important to stress that if someone thinks that it is comfortable and pleasant to be the one who spoils the celebration, they are wrong. We’d prefer to be part of the celebration, but on such a critical issue to our welfare and to world peace, we will not lie to ourselves,” he said.
Steinitz described divisions with the White House as “an argument between friends.
The US was and remains our ally. The Obama administration has been and remains a friendly administration, and I have no doubt for a minute in the friendship of President Obama and the commitment of the senior members [of his administration].”
There is room for a legitimate disagreement, Steinitz continued, but he condemned what he described as offensive, personal comments heard in recent days, without going into details.
“We oppose any concept of an intermediate agreement.
The main problem with an intermediate agreement is that Iran gets legitimacy to remain a nuclear breakout state for the first six months.
We’re in favor a real diplomatic solution, one that is credible and encompassing,” the minister said.
Tehran must commit itself to giving up the ability to produce nuclear weapons, Steinitz said. “We won’t be able to trust Iranian promises.
We will be able to, to a certain degree, trust a disbandment of the Iranian capability,” Steinitz continued.
Israel has no objection to Iranian nuclear reactors used to generate electricity, but rejects its enrichment of uranium, he said.
“We won’t join the world that is willing to cheat itself because of its desire to reach a quick agreement. Iran isn’t Japan. If Iran becomes a nuclear breakout state, it will produce the bomb,” Steinitz warned.