Steinitz Rejects Moniz Remarks on Iran Deal

YERUSHALAYIM -

In the latest U.S.-Israel skirmish over the Iran deal on Tuesday, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz made it very clear that he thinks his counterpart Ernest Moniz does not know better than he does what is best for Israel.

Moniz, a key advocate for the deal, told Israeli reporters in Washington that if he were Israeli he would he would support the agreement, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Turning the tables, Steinitz asserted that “if I were American, I would oppose the agreement.”

“I would oppose the agreement because it ensures from the start that ten years from now, Iran will become a nuclear power capable of producing dozens of atomic bombs per month.

“I would oppose the agreement because it could lead to a nuclear arms race between Iran and the Sunni Arab states — in stark opposition to the declared American policy.

“I would oppose the agreement because, even in the short term, inspections [of Iran’s nuclear facilities] are not immediate, or invasive enough, as was promised from the start.

“If I was American, I would oppose the agreement, because it hurts the national security of the U.S., of Israel and of all the Western nations,” Steinitz said.

Seeking to put the deal into the context of regional U.S. policy, Moniz maintained that it “does not change one iota who our friends and allies are in the region.”

Critics of the administration have been saying the White House made a strategic decision to accommodate Iran, and not just its nuclear program.

Addressing charges that lifting of sanctions will release billions of dollars that the Iranians will use to finance terrorism, he said that if Tehran “does not move out of the box” sponsoring terrorism, it will remain diplomatically isolated.

Moniz also said that Iran’s rhetoric about Israel will have to change “dramatically,” though the Iranian leaders have openly defied such admonitions.

Also on Tuesday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry published a critique of the Iran deal, addressing among other things, the issue of so-called “snap back” sanctions if Tehran fails to comply with the scheme.

“In theory, any of the P5 (world) powers can reinstate the sanctions through the U.N. Security Council and no veto is permitted,” read the Foreign Ministry statement.

“However, according to the agreement and repetitive statements by Iran, should the ‘snap back option’ be utilized, Iran will withdraw from the agreement. Hence, any of the five states that believes that the snap back option should be deployed can only do so if it is willing to bear the consequences: the dissolution of the agreement. This creates a strong deterrent effect against activating ‘snap back’ of the sanctions.”

Indeed, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif declared on Monday that the sanctions will not come back, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency.