Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) slammed US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday for suggesting Israel would be blamed if Congress blocked the nuclear agreement with Iran.
“The State of Israel will speaks about its view on the Iranian nuclear issue, as related to its security and existence. No one has the authority to threaten it,” Steinitz, the Jewish state’s point person on Iran, charged.
According to Steinitz, arguments against the agreement stem from objective concerns, which are not exclusively felt by Israel.
“Criticism of the agreement in the United States in general, and Congress in particular, is due to to the serious flaws and loopholes found it it, transforming the so-called ‘tight and intrusive’ agreement into a farce.”
Aside from Steinitz, an unnamed Israeli official told The New York Times on Saturday that Israel would continue to criticize the nuclear agreement with Iran and would not be pressured to stop voicing its objections.
“We reject the threats directed at Israel in recent days,” the official stressed. “The US Congress will make its decision based on American interests, which include consideration of US allies.”
“The regrettable attempt to intimidate Israel will not prevent us from voicing our concerns about this deal, which poses direct threats to Israel’s security.”
Kerry’s warning to Israel came Friday during a speech at the Council of Foreign Relations in New York.
“I fear that what could happen is if Congress were to overturn [the deal], our friends in Israel could actually wind up being more isolated and more blamed,” he said. “And we would lose Europe and China and Russia with respect to whatever military action we might have to take because we will have turned our backs on a very legitimate program that allows us to put their program to the test over these next years.”
The talk at the Council of Foreign Relations came hours after Kerry warned Israel that a unilateral strike on Iran’s covert nuclear program would be a “huge mistake.”
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