A senior Israeli official has said that "there is no more time for negotiations" with Iran and that the U.S. should deliver stronger military threats to the country. Israel's prime minister joined the offical in dismissing comments from Iran's new president as a mere "charm offensive" designed to fool the West.
In an interview that appeared in Friday's Israel Hayom, Israeli Minister of Intelligence, International Relations and Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz was asked, "Is there still time for diplomacy with the Iranians?"
Steinitz replied, "There is no more time for negotiations." He also repeated a message made by U.S. officials including President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, as well as Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that the deal on Syria's chemical weapons was only reached "when there was a real military threat."
Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, was interviewed this week by NBC's Ann Curry and said that his country has "never pursued or sought a nuclear bomb, and we are not going to do so.” These comments echo those by his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"Rouhani has launched a charm offensive on the West, but he plans to charm his way to a nuclear weapon," Steinitz told Israel Hayom.
Iran has repeatedly said its nuclear program is for civilian purposes, and while the U.S. and Israel have repeatedly referred to Iran's "nuclear weapons program," there is no proof that exists.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office released a statement on Thursday in response to Rouhani's ABC interview with a message similar to Steinitz's. "The Iranians are spinning in the media so that the centrifuges can keep on spinning," Reuters reports the statement as reading. "One must not be fooled by the Iranian president's fraudulent words."
Rouhani also penned an op-ed that appeared in the Washington Post on Thursday in which he asks his global counterparts to "respond genuinely to my government’s efforts to engage in constructive dialogue."
... A constructive approach to diplomacy doesn’t mean relinquishing one’s rights. It means engaging with one’s counterparts, on the basis of equal footing and mutual respect, to address shared concerns and achieve shared objectives. In other words, win-win outcomes are not just favorable but also achievable. A zero-sum, Cold War mentality leads to everyone’s loss.
Sadly, unilateralism often continues to overshadow constructive approaches. Security is pursued at the expense of the insecurity of others, with disastrous consequences.
Steinitz, who Reuters reports as being close to the Prime Minister, said that the threats and sanctions against Iran have not been enough, but he is "convinced that if three aircraft carriers were deployed, together with an American declaration that if the Iranians fail to honor the Security Council resolutions the U.S. will attack by 2013, they would have acted differently."