In an effort to rally opposition to the controversial Iran nuclear deal, Dore Gold, head of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, addressed the heads of Jewish organizations during a conference call organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.
“It is very uncomfortable for us to be in this struggle,” said Gold in his opening remarks. “The United States is an ally of Israel and the relationship is something very deep, but we have to say what we believe to be the truth about this agreement.”
Gold has been a key figure in Israeli foreign policy since the 1980s. He served as an advisor to the late Ariel Sharon as well as to Prime Minister Netanyahu, and was Israel’s permanent representative to the United Nations. He recently stepped down from his position as president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs upon his appointment as Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the new government. Although Gold has lived in Israel for nearly all his adult life, he was born and educated in America.
He was introduced by former Senator Joseph Lieberman, who referred to the struggle to block the deal as “the fight of our lives.” Lieberman declared that gathering the support necessary in Congress to override the presidential veto is not an impossibility.
The first point Gold stressed was what he sees as an insufficient oversight and verification process. While the agreement calls for thorough inspections on sites officially declared to the Atomic Energy Council, he pointed out, “If we are worried about nuclear breakout, the problem will come from undeclared sites.”
“Over the next ten years, Iran can build ballistic missiles and in ten years [when the present deal expires] outfit them with nuclear warheads,” said Gold, warning of the danger of leaving such an issue unrestricted.
He added that the missile issue emphasized a greater void in the agreement: the total lack of disclosure regarding Iran’s “past military development,” which could shed light on the possible intentions of its nuclear ambitions.
Gold raised a matter of concern to the region as a whole and to Israel in particular: The estimated $150 billion in sanctions relief would allow Iran to greatly expand its sponsorship of Hizbullah and other “terror surrogates” in the Middle East.
“Under sanctions, Iran has had to make decisions where to prioritize. [Now] they will be able to expand all over,” he said.