Israeli International Relations Minister Yuval Steinitz: Parameters of Iranian nuclear agreement ‘detached from reality’

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Israeli International Relations Minister Yuval Steinitz: Parameters of Iranian nuclear agreement ‘detached from reality’ 
By HERB KEINON/04/02/2015/J.Post

The smiles that accompanied the announcement Thursday of parameters for an Iranian nuclear agreement in Lausanne between the world powers and Iran are detached from reality, International Relations Minister Yuval Steinitz said in Jerusalem’s initial reaction to the developments. The reality, Steinitz said, is that Iran refused to make any concession on the nuclear issue and continues to threaten Israel and all other countries in the Middle East.

Even before the press conference in Lausanne where the announcement was made, the Prime Minister’s Office posted the following message on twitter: “Any deal must significantly roll back Iran’s nuclear capabilities and stop its terrorism and aggression.” The tweet was posted above a map with arrows leading from Tehran to Yemen, Gaza, Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq under the headline, “Iran’s aggression during the nuclear negotiations.”

Government officials made clear that Israel will continue publicly fighting against the deal, emphasizing Iran’s aggressive behavior throughout the Middle East even at a time when it does not yet have nuclear capabilities. “At a time when the representatives of the world powers were shaking hands with the Iranians in Lausanne, Iran continues its campaign of occupation and terror in Yemen and throughout the Middle East,” he said.

Steinitz said that since Thursday’s declaration was a long way from being a full agreement, “we will continue in our efforts to explain and convince the world in the hopes of preventing a bad deal, or at least introducing changes and improvements.” Even before the parameters were presented, Steinitz joined senior Israeli officials who in recent days began speaking about the possibility of Israeli military action, after months in which the idea had not been spoken about publicly.

Asked on Israel Radio whether Jerusalem would consider a military operation even against US opposition, Steinitz said “if we have no choice, we have no choice.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted in recent days that Israel would not feel bound by any agreement eventually signed, but Steinitz’s words were the most explicit in a while that Israel had definitely not taken the military option “off the table.”

“I don’t want to talk about a military option, other than to say that it exists,” he said. “I just want to say one thing, when we had no choice and needed to attack and destroy the reactor in Iraq [in 1981], that was against the US position.”“When talking about our national security,” Steinitz continued, “it is our responsibility and duty to to defend the state, and if the world has other ideas or illusions or agreements that do not ensure our security, we will need to weigh very carefully what to do.”

Steinitz said that Israel is working on the diplomat and intelligence levels, and that – if it is necessary – we leave the military option on the table.Meanwhile, in an interview with Israel Hayom, Maj. Gen. Nimrod Sheffer – the head of the IDF Planning Directorate – said when asked whether he could imagine a situation where Israel would bomb Iran against US wishes, that “since it happened in the past, I have no reason to believe it won’t happen again.”“If ultimately an agreement is in fact signed, we will have to ask ourselves, ‘Okay, what are we going to do with this?’” he said. “If someone builds a bomb and at the same time declares that Israel has no right to exist, we have to think about how to respond.” He said that if Israel feels its existence depends on taking action, it will do so.