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July 13, 2015 1:01 pm

Israeli Minister Steinitz: We Can ‘Sway’ US Public Opinion on Iran Nuclear Deal

avatar by Eliezer Sherman

Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz.' Photo: Liron Moldovan.

Israeli Minister Yuval Steinitz.’ Photo: Liron Moldovan.

Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israeli Walla! News on Monday he was optimistic that Israel would be able “sway” lawmakers, and U.S. public opinion, to oppose and ultimately veto the expected nuclear deal with Iran.

Noting that many members of Congress were currently on summer recess, the Israeli energy minister said crunch time to clinch a congressional veto would fall toward the end of the first half of September, when the 60 day review period for the Iran deal would be reaching its conclusion.

Steinitz was confident that many Democratic senators were becoming increasingly dubious over the nuclear deal, in addition to broad Republican opposition.

“[Israel] knows how to sway public opinion,” said Steinitz.

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Steinitz’s assessment of the Iran nuclear deal itself — which diplomats said would be announced on Monday — was far less optimistic. He called it a “win for the ayatollahs.”

“We demanded a deal providing full dismantlement and de-establishment. The world powers came and said that’s not going to happen. It will be an agreement of monitoring and freezing [nuclear work] … But the freeze is anything but absolute and [the Iranians] continue to develop their nuclear program, and the unprecedented intrusive inspections regime Obama spoke about is becoming a joke, a farce. The monitoring under suggestion will be utterly useless,” said Steinitz.

Steinitz — a confidant of Israeli PM Netanyahu, and often the Israeli government’s point man when it comes to the Iran deal — warned that Iran would be able to “obtain nuclear weapons in a matter of days” by the time the nuclear deal expires.

And should Iran seek “to attack Israel or obtain a nuclear bomb,” Israel’s right to respond using military force is unbound by any international accord, he said.

“It is our right to do anything we want to prevent” Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, he said.

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