Israel’s intelligence and international relations minister says he expects few changes despite the election Friday of a reportedly “moderate” Iranian president.
Minister Yuval Steinitz told Army Radio in a broadcast interview Sunday morning, “the results are a credit to the Iranian people, but the question is whether the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei -- who actually manages the foreign affairs, national security and Iran’s nuclear program – change the country’s path and behavior?
“I doubt it,” Steinitz went on to say. “But if it changes, it will only be in response to increased pressure.”
On Saturday night, Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor urged world leaders, “Even after the election, judge Iran by its actions on the nuclear front and its sponsorship of terrorism worldwide.”
Because the 64-year-old Hassan Rowhani is considered by international leaders to be a “moderate,” his election brought with it, he said, “a new opportunity” for the West to treat the Islamic Republic with respect and to recognize its rights.
The U.S. and the United Nations both greeted Rowhani’s words with cautious optimism, expressing willingness to “engage” with Iranian authorities over the issue of its nuclear development program.
World leaders believe Iran is racing to complete an atomic weapon of mass destruction, an allegation the Islamic Republic has denied.