25 Apr 2024
Sunday 16 June 2013 - 14:25
Story Code : 33158

Israel fears Rowhani victory might buy Iran more time on nukes

Acting defense minister worries West might be tempted to approve more talks, while centrifuges spin; Foreign Ministry: Iran will be judged by its actions
Israels acting defense minister said Saturday he was concerned Hassan Rowhanis win in the Iranian presidential elections might buy Iran more time in diplomatic contacts with the West over its nuclear program.

Gilad Erdan (Likud), who is filling in for Moshe Yaalon, said he feared Rowhanis win, and his reputation as a centrist and reformer, might lead the West to give Iran more leeway in diplomatic contacts over its rogue nuclear drive.

There might be a temptation to agree to another round of talks, and then another round. Meanwhile the centrifuges are still spinning, said Erdan, who is also minister of Homefront Defense and Communications.

He told Channel 10 he was worried world powers might misconstrue Rowhani, because he is a cleric, as some kind of benevolent spiritual leader, who might change policies, when this was certainly not the case.

The Foreign Ministry spokesmans office issued a statement on the news from Iran expressing a similar sentiment.

The president elect in Iran had been shortlisted by Ayatollah Khamenei, who has disqualifiedand removed candidates who did not conform to his extremist views. Irans nuclear program has sofar been determined by Khamenei, and not by Irans president.

After the elections, Iran will continue to be judged by its actions, in the nuclear sphere as well ason the issue of terror. Iran must abide by the demands of the international community to stopits nuclear program and cease the dissemination of terror throughout the world, read the statement.

In similar vein, Iranian-born Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz said he believes the new president will not change Irans policy on its controversial nuclear program.

The Iranian nuclear program will continue. We are not expecting any dramatic changes on that front. There will also be no change vis-a-vis Hezbollah and support [for the terror group] will continue, said Mofaz.

At talks in Washington on Friday with his US counterpart Chuck Hagel,Defense MinisterYaalon had said the Iranian election would make no difference, because its results would be determined by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Khamenei will be the one to determine the identity of the next president. We have to be tougher with Iran on the diplomatic front, Yaalon said, calling for stricter sanctions.It must be clear to them that the military option is on the table, he said.

However, Iran expert ProfessorDavid Menashri from Tel Aviv University said Saturday the Rowhani victory was nothing short of an earthquake.

This is a very significant development. Iran was not only wary of a repeat of what happened in 2009, but also of what has been happening in the Middle East since the Arab Spring began in 2011. The regime was not interested in a second round but surely it is surprised by the outcome. A week ago, no one would have expected it, said Menashri during a Channel 2 discussion on the Iranian presidential election.

Although Rowhani is a cleric, this is not about religion, this is about a new way for Iran, Menashri added.

By The Times of Israel


The Iran Project is not responsible for the content of quoted articles.

Your Name
Your Email Address