Israeli Minister Warns West: Don't Be Fooled by Iran's Shifted Rhetoric

Strategic and Intelligence Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz likens Iran's nuclear program to Syria, where it took threats of a U.S. attack to convince the regime to give up chemical weapons.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail

The world must not let up pressure on Iran's nuclear program simply because President Hassan Rohani has shifted the Islamic Republic's rhetoric toward the West, Israeli Strategic and Intelligence Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said Tuesday.

"We’re seeing an attack of smiles, moderation and pleasantry from the new president, Rohani," Steinitz, who is responsible for Israel's international relations, told Army Radio. "As of now, we’re not seeing any change in substance."

Steinitz said that despite the reconciliatory words, Iran has yet to honor UN Security Council resolutions calling on Iran to stop enriching uranium, dismantle the installation in Qom and stop construction of the heavy-water reactor.

The current talks on Iranian nuclear program could turn out to be like "Munich Agreement," Steinitz said, alluding to the deal among European powers before World War II now seen as an act of appeasement toward Nazi Germany.

"We definitely prefer a diplomatic solution to a military solution, but we can reach it only through a great deal of [economic and military] pressure," he said.

The lesson from the crisis over chemical weapons use in Syria is applicable to Iran, Steinitz said.

"The moment the United States announced it was going to attack - when the military threat was real - the Syrians announced that they were willing to give up their chemical weapons," he said. "Without a doubt, Syria’s policy underwent a dramatic change the moment there was an actual military threat."

Steinitz also warned Western powers not to repeat the mistake made during attempts to contain North Korea's nuclear program. He said that though a deal was signed and "everyone applauded," and within a few years they manufactured nuclear weapons.

"Rohani is out to fool us, and part of the world wants to be fooled," Steinitz said. "It’s tiny Israel’s job to open their eyes. It’s a long struggle, and it won’t be over in a day." 

Iranian President Hassan Rohani shakes hands with his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.Credit: AP