Israel's Energy Minister Shoots Back at Moniz: If I Were American, I Would Oppose Iran Deal

U.S. Energy Minister Ernest Moniz told Israeli diplomatic reporters in Washington a day earlier, 'If I were Israeli, I would support the Iran deal.'

Barak Ravid
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Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz (L), and U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. Credit: AP, Olivier Fitoussi
Barak Ravid

Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, who for the last two years has coordinated the government's response to the Iranian nuclear program, shot back at his U.S. counterpart after the latter said, "If I were Israeli, I would support the nuclear deal.

"If I were American I would oppose the agreement because it harms the national security of the United States, Israel and all the nations of the West," Steinitz said, in response to the briefing Ernest Moniz gave on Monday to Israeli diplomatic correspondents in Washington. Moniz had said that if he were Israeli he would support the agreement with Iran because it takes the existential threat of Iranian nuclear weapons off the table.

"If I were American I would oppose the agreement because it guarantees from the get-go the transformation of Iran into a nuclear power, one with the ability to produce dozens of nuclear bombs a month within 10 years from today," said Steinitz. "I would oppose the agreement because it is liable to bring about a nuclear arms race between Iran and the Sunni Arab states, in complete contradiction of stated American policy."

Steinitz added that he would object to the deal with Iran because even in the short term, the inspections regime in place is not immediate, invasive or sufficient, as was promised at the start of negotiations.

"If I were American I would oppose the agreement because it harms the national security of the United States, Israel and all the nations of the West," Steinitz said.

His opposite number in Washington, Moniz, a leading American nuclear physicist, has in the last few weeks become the Obama administration’s point man in selling the agreement to the American media, Congress and U.S. public opinion.

 “This agreement does not change one iota who are our friends and allies in the region — Israel and the Gulf states,” Moniz stressed in the meeting with Israeli correspondents.

According to the U.S. energy secretary, the United States will not stop pressuring Iran over its support of terror, human rights violations or attempts to undermine regimes in the region. "Iran doesn't move out of the box unless its support for terror and human rights abuses is addressed. In addition, (Iran's) rhetoric around Israel has to change dramatically," he said.

Moniz added that as part of the deal, Iran committed to the United States and the world that it would not move to produce nuclear weapons at any stage in the future.

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