Minister Steinitz
Minister SteinitzIsrael news photo: Flash 90

On route to Washington to be briefed regarding the West's negotiations with Iran, Minister for Strategic Affairs, MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud) has first traveled to meet senior politicians in Canada to ask the country to exert its influence to force Iran to end all uranium enrichment.

Israel has warned the West, in its talks with Iran, not to allow the regime to negotiate its way out of sanctions while continuing to enrich uranium needed to build a nuclear weapon.

Speaking to Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper, Steinitz said, “Canada is very influential and can exercise its influence elsewhere – in Europe, in China, in America, in Russia, and elsewhere. It’s very important. And I know that the Canadian government is already doing so.”

Later Monday, Steinitz will meet with Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, before flying on to Washington for talks.

“The Iranians are trying to save the Iranian economy and to save their nuclear project. They’re trying to have them both, to save them both, and to maneuver in order to get this,” Steinitz told the Globe and Mail. 

“We will endorse a satisfactory diplomatic solution – on the condition that it won’t be only about trust, and not even only about strengthening supervision and inspection, but that it will make it impossible for Iran to produce the bomb or even have the capacity to produce the bomb in the future,” he said.

The visit to Canada is also indicative of a very close connection between the countries in recent years, with Canada standing up as one of the West's most outspoken critics of Iran.

In a speech at the United Nations General Assembly, three weeks ago, Canada's Baird gave one of the most robust responses to Iran’s recent conciliatory remarks, echoing the Israeli prime minister's demand that Iran be forced to back up by its words with actions. He also said Canada would not take a neutral stance when it came to Israel's security.

“There can be no bargaining over Israel’s existence,” he declared, adding, “While dialogue is a virtue, there can be no virtuous discussion with anyone wedded to Israel’s destruction. Today, the Jewish people are masters of their own fate, like other nations, in their own sovereign Jewish state. Like other nations, Israel has the right to defend itself, by itself,” he said.