Steinitz Fires back at US Energy Minister

Yuval Steinitz fires back at comments by US Energy Secretary Moniz, who claimed he'd support the Iran deal even if he was Israeli.

Ari Soffer ,

US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz
US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz
Credit: Reuters

Israel's Energy National Infrastructures and Water Minister Dr. Yuval Steinitz has fired back at comments by US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, in which the senior American official claimed he would support the nuclear deal with Iran even if he was Israeli.

Moniz, a former nuclear scientist and a key member of America's negotiating team in the Iran talks, made the comments on Monday to Israeli journalists.

But Steinitz - who has joined other Israeli leaders in denouncing the agreement as a "bad deal" - claimed Moniz could not be more wrong in his assessment.

If I were American, I would oppose the agreement," Steinitz retorted.

"I would oppose the agreement because it ensures from the outset Iran's becoming a nuclear power capable of producing dozens of atomic bombs per month, ten years from today," he said, referring to the fact that even if Iran does not cheat, the deal expires in 10 years' time - by which time all sanctions will have been lifted and Iran's path to a nuclear weapon will be completely clear. 

"I would oppose the agreement because it is likely to lead to a nuclear arms race between Iran and the Sunni Arab states – in complete contravention of the avowed policy of the US," Steinitz continued. 

"I would oppose the agreement because even in the short term, the inspections are not immediate and invasive, as was promised at the start," he added, referring to the 24-day warning inspectors are required to give Iran before conducting "surprise inspections" on nuclear facilities - a clause of the agreement mocked as farcical by many.

"I would oppose the agreement because it harms the national security of the United States, Israel and every Western country."

In the months prior to the signing of the deal, Steinitz was among several senior Israeli ministers who traveled to the US in a last minute attempt to lobby decision-makers against the deal, during which time he met personally with Moniz.