Netanyahu: Belief that a Prosperous Iran Will Be Less Aggressive Is Wishful Thinking

(Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Herzliya Conference on Tuesday: There's a belief that if Iran is more prosperous at home, it'll be less aggressive abroad. But 150 billion dollars and more [in sanctions relief] is a lot of money. The idea that a wealthier Iran will stop funding its terrorism, I think, is wishful thinking because this is big money for Iran's worldwide campaigns of terror, regional aggression, its unprecedented conventional arms buildup, its cyber warfare program and its nuclear program. And according to this deal, Iran gets this big money regardless of its behavior. I know I'm often portrayed as the nuclear party pooper. But I speak with quite a few of our neighbors, more than you think, and nobody in this region believes this deal will block Iran's path to many bombs. And it's worth noting that no one from this region, except Iran, is at the negotiating table. Somebody once said: "If you're not at the table, you're on the menu." The states with the most at stake are not even in the room. To those who say this deal will change Iran, I say - you've got it backwards. First, Iran should change. Then make the deal. Only then should you reward it with technology and money. I again call on President Abbas to return to negotiations without preconditions. But I also know he has very little reason to talk. Why should he talk? He can get by with an international community that blames Israel for not having talks. The Palestinians refuse to negotiate and then get international pressure, sanctions, boycotts on Israel for there not being negotiations. Bridge-building is a delicate process that has been quietly strengthened in the past few years and can be dramatically strengthened in the years ahead, especially if some of our Arab neighbors join us in influencing the Palestinians to get back to the table and negotiate a responsible deal.

2015-06-10 00:00:00

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