International Relations Minister Yuval Steinitz warned on Sunday that Iran having a nuclear weapon would be equal to “thirty nuclear North Koreas”.
“We have the right and the ability to defend ourselves,” he said in a speech at the Jerusalem Post Conference in New York. “The cooperation with the United States is very important but ultimately each country will make its own decisions on maintaining its security,” said Steinitz, stressing that “Israel can deal with any threat.”
80 years ago, said Steinitz, “only one person identified on time and warned the world against the rearmament of Nazi Germany. This was Winston Churchill, but people refused to listen. Some people even mocked him.”
“We shouldn’t repeat the same mistake again,” he added, referring to Iran. “The Nazis spoke about the final solution of the Jews in Europe, and the Iranians are talking about destroying the Jewish State in the Middle East. We have to learn from history, even if it doesn’t repeat itself exactly, and if there’s a lesson to learn from history, it is not to repeat the same mistake again and not to allow, come what may, the nuclearization of Iran.”
Referring to Syria, Steinitz rejected allegations that Israel asked the United States to take military action in the war torn country..
“We never asked and never encouraged the U.S. to take military action in Syria,” Steinitz told the conference, referring to reports that Israel has been pressuring the Obama administration to get involved in Syria, in the wake of the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime.
“It is up to the U.S. to decide its policy on Syria,” said Steinitz. “Of course, we exchange views with the U.S. about the situation; it’s a very complex and difficult issue."
He emphasized that Israel will “do its utmost to prevent delivery” of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles to terrorist groups such as Hizbullah.