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Bad Iran deal ‘will lead to war,’ Israel minister warns

November 18th, 2013
03:23 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

A bad nuclear deal between Iran and world powers “will lead to war,” Naftali Bennett, Israeli economy minister and leader of the hawkish Jewish Home party, warned on Monday in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

“There’s no one who wants a war less than us,” Bennett said. “However, it’s one of those cases where a bad deal will lead to a war, and a good deal with actually prevent war.”

A good deal, he said, would be one that “dismantles the nuclear weapon production machine.”

He warned of a so-called breakout capability, in which Iran would not actually build a nuclear weapon, but rather the ability to produce one, at the flick of a switch, at any given time, within a few weeks – he said “within six weeks.”

If a “bad deal” is brokered with Iran, he said, military action will become inevitable.

He cited the Israeli strikes on nuclear installations in Iraq in 1981 and in Syria – which the country has never publically admitted – in 2007.

“In 2007, Israel allegedly attacked Bashar al-Assad’s nuclear core,” Bennett said. “And had we not done that – allegedly – Bashar al-Assad would today have a nuclear weapon.”

“If five years from now, or ten years from now, a nuclear suitcase blows up in New York, it will be traced down to these very fateful days,” Bennett said.

“Israel has the ability to defend itself, and Israel will defend itself if necessary.”

World powers are gearing up for another round of direct negotiations with Iran, after foreign ministers left Geneva last earlier this month without a deal.

The current negotiations are aimed at having an interim agreement where Iran limits its nuclear program and increases transparency in return for what the West says will be some reversible sanctions relief.

“Iran right now is on the ropes,” Bennett said, who was in the U.S. to push for sustained pressure on Iran.

“Now is the time to present Iran with an either/or decision,” Bennett said. “Either retain your nuclear program or you have an economy. You can’t have it both ways.”

The White House has asked Congress to hold off on pushing for more pressure, and President Obama was set to meet with top senators on Tuesday to discuss the talks.

Bennett described the U.S. as Israel’s “strongest ally,” and said that the countries agree on preventing Iran from acquiring a bomb, but admitted that “there is a degree where we don’t really agree on how you get to that.”

Talks with Iran are not the only high-stakes negotiations taking place on the Middle East, however.

U.S.-brokered talks between Israel and the Palestinians are currently on-going, albeit with some difficulties.

Bennett, who brought with him to the interview a coin he said was “used by Jews 2,000 years ago in the state of Israel,” opposes the two-state solution that most observers agree is the desired outcome.

“I think trying to enforce [an] artificial state in the heart of Israel, in Jerusalem, is a grave mistake,” Bennett said.

“If the Palestinians want peace they have to do one simple thing: Recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland. That’s all. But if they don’t do that, if they don’t recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland, they can’t expect peace.”

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Iran • Israel • Latest Episode
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. amit mishra

    Absolutely,amazing and interesting to read,Iran issue be more and more complicate and interesting too.

    My amazing,expert,genius,most beautiful honey Margaret Brennan CBS NEWS Washington report very interesting to see,where the money came from and where the money going outside Iran!

    Most important point Margaret mentioned its pretty important deal for Iran prospectus,why?
    Margaret mentioned

    1) Iran economy already in recession!
    Margaret mentioned Iran economy down to 5% its pretty hard time for unemployment rate all time high nearly 27%,Iran currency value half compare to dollar,Iran inflation,interest rate all time high.not good time for Iran people.

    2)how hard hit oil export sanction over Iran economy!
    Iran most income come from oil,which is big source like 3rd largest oil producer in the world,but after sanction Iran income down half due to sanction over Iran oil export,its pretty important part of Iran economy!

    3)sanction over Iran's foreign reserve overseas account,asset.
    Iran could not use its most valuable and most important for Iran's economy,Iran has approximately $100 bn in reserve,vast majority is overseas,they have limited and no access to that reserve,means no more investment,infrastructure,projects bad for economy!

    4)sanction over Iran banking sector.
    Iran face big challenge,regarding banking sector,any country could not do the business directly with Iran,means not use international currency for business,no access to Iran banks,means less foreign reserve as well as higher interest rate due to higher inflation create big problem to economy.

    Margaret also mentioned according to Mr Obama war is not an only option to solve problem,U.S force is able to do any operation but this option is unintended which is pretty positive to statement,we are trying hard to make deal but now its up to Iran to show transparency,this deal help Iran economy to relief financially.

    Margaret also mentioned,its too early to say regarding Iran nuclear deal is bad,but most important thing is that war is not clue of war,only waste of time,money and life of innocent people,Margaret also mentioned Mr Kerry will not attend meetings Wendy Sherman travel to Geneva p5+1 talk to lead U.S delegation,Margaret also mentioned according to Mr Kerry there is less expectation form nuclear talk deal,but let see what happen on 25 November meetings.

    November 18, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Reply
  2. ashok

    Sometimes there is another point of view, with equal or even greater merit...

    November 18, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Reply
  3. George

    In these kinda deals is the West always right? Is Israel always right in their views? And shall we say that Iran is always wrong? How come? I ask myself.

    Look, when Israel flouts the UN no one calls for the stick. Iran doesn't, and the stick must come out.

    It's only early days in the negotiations. How dare anyone call for the stick when, after one meeting, there is no deal. Who expected there to be a deal after the first meeting? Why can't we allow Kerry and his team work at this and get a good deal out of it.

    Remember that a good deal is one which favours both sides, not one against the other. That's the only way we will have a peaceful outcome to this.

    November 18, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Reply
    • Artyom

      When one man stands with a loaded gun aimed at the other man,
      Favours both sides will be with give him your wallet, this is what you want?
      This is exactly a bad deal, leave him with loaded gun and your wallet.
      Сan not be a fair deal with terrorists

      November 18, 2013 at 6:37 pm | Reply
  4. Joe

    Isreal become the country with dismantles the nuclear weapon production machine after killing of Kennedy, so we will have good deal, which would be one that “dismantles the nuclear weapon production {Isreal,, France, Russia, China, Pakistan,India} }machine.”,

    November 18, 2013 at 5:43 pm | Reply
  5. Citizen of the (western, non fundamentalist) world

    Thank you, Israel, for protecting the rest of the world from all those terror nutcases, and dealing with terror actions on a daily basis...
    (Israel, you suckersssss!!!!!)

    November 18, 2013 at 6:08 pm | Reply
  6. Iman

    This man is mentioning 1981 Israelis attacked Iraq , when FRANCE have sold a heavy water reactor to SADDAM! And know FRANCE is the country trying to prevent US having a deal with Iran... !!! the whole story is Hippocratic
    France and Israelis all know Iran already had the ability to make the bomb but they have never made it, this is just negotiating to prevent a TURN OVER in middle east history! IRAN AND US COULD BE FRIENDS AGAIN !

    November 18, 2013 at 7:37 pm | Reply
    • Jotham

      In regards to your last sentence. The United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Iran cannot and will not be friends again for the simple reason that the Iranian regime has pleaded allegience, time and time again, to the goal of eliminating the State of Israel, and by doing that, ridding the Middle East of its only Western civilization.

      As soon as the extremely fundamentalistic Islamic regime in Iran is off the map, what you're saying might become possible. Peace.

      November 20, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Reply
      • maias

        Jotham seems to be unaware of the fact that back in 1953 Iran had a democratically elected Government. But, because that government wanted to nationalise their oil industry, which was under the control of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, a British corporation (currently known as BP) he CIA staged a coup which brought in the autocratic, repressive shah. Is it any wonder Iranians call the US the Great Satan – for destroying democracy for the sake of keeping oil supplies under western control.

        In Aoril 2012, Dan Meridor, Israel’s minister of intelligence and atomic energy said that Mr. Ahmadinejad’s rhetorical flourish that Iran wants to wipe Israel out had been misinterpreted. Mr. Meridor said that Mr. Ahmadinejad and Iran’s ruling cleric, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had said repeatedly “that Israel is an unnatural creature, it will not survive. They DIDN'T say, ‘We’ll wipe it out,’ but, ‘It will not survive.’ ”

        November 27, 2013 at 1:33 am |
    • maias

      "the whole story is Hippocratic".
      Are saying it has been 'doctored'?

      November 27, 2013 at 1:12 am | Reply
  7. jimmy lim

    Iran must accede to France's 4 conditions inorder to have a deal. Otherwise, there is no sinceroty and there should be NO DEAL. Period.

    November 18, 2013 at 9:25 pm | Reply
  8. Paul II

    The overall argument has merit. Neville Chamberlain's agreement with Hitler contributed to the start of WW2.

    November 18, 2013 at 10:16 pm | Reply
  9. Kim Varma

    I have always guarded a great respect for the firm and audacious style of Christiane but her interview with the Israeli minster Naftali Bennet was a total deception. How come she never challenged him for telling lies like the word 'occupied' was incorrect and wrong to be applied to the invaded territory of Palestine? Why did she not question this unbelievably domineering liar as to why a terrorist nation like Isarel should be allowed to keep nuclear arms? Is she following the steps of the majority of world media who never ask direct or frank questions to any Israeli/Jewish leader?

    November 19, 2013 at 11:09 am | Reply
    • israelunlocked

      Had Amanpour challenged Bennett, he would likely have explained that the term "occupied" is incorrect because the Jewish people have the only legitimate sovereign right to the territory. See here for more info:

      November 19, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Reply
  10. changeirannow

    The Iranian claim that its nuclear program is purely peaceful is not realistic .The would-be agreement benefited Iran by reducing sanctions, including the release of $50 billion of Iranian assets held overseas. In return, Iran could easily continue its nuclear weapons development, although at a slower pace, but no reversal or dismantling was required. For this reason, the French foreign minister correctly called this a “sucker deal.” Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu called it a “very, very, bad deal” and high-ranking official of the Saudi foreign ministry compared it to an act of marital infidelity.

    November 19, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Reply
  11. Dhani Schimizzi

    The BIGGEST threat to Planet's security is not one rogue nation armed with ONE NUCLEAR bomb, but rather the U.S. & Russia's INSANE cache of 16,000 a 'dem!

    November 20, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Reply
  12. its pure nonsense..this was all arranged to give appearances

    amanpour was very disrespectful and frankly, taking a side in how she phrases and asked bennet her questions... it was obvious how she is framing the whole discussion...that is not journalism, its propaganda.

    November 20, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Reply
    • Common Sense

      Amanpour is clearly biased. "Occupied"?!! She was rude, unprofessional and frankly bordering on antisemitic. For the last two thousand years half to most of the world was antisemitic – that doesn't mean that that was right; two hundred years ago, we Americans and Europe were slaveholders and traded in slaves – that didn't make it right; likewise, anything that is "internationally" referred to doesn't make it right. This is not the first time that I have seen Amanpour take such a stance in her comments. I feel like I just listened to a European "journalist;" (that's because in the last two or three years, CNN is bringing in "journalists" or European points of view to CNN – as if we haven't noticed!!) Despite so many horrible things happening in the world, the Europeans and the UN have been forever and exceedingly preoccupied with Israel. I think we all know why if we were to be honest with ourselves. For example, half the population of the Arab countries – women – are being oppressed daily. Where is the daily condemnation? I guess oil and money is more important.. The real issue is if Europeans and the UN cannot think clearly and morally, then what are we to expect on bigger issues.

      November 21, 2013 at 3:49 am | Reply
  13. kamran3

    Now that Obama's administration has made a deal with Iran, it would be a grave mistake for Israel to rage war or attack Iran's nuclear production sites. It gives Iran the legitimacy to retaliate evenly. That could result in a big regional war and perhaps a world war where Russians and the US could be involved. The end result is neither good for Israel nor for the countries in middle-east and even though other regions may be immune of physical harm, it could inflict tremendous burden on world economy as oil supplies would undoubtedly be interrupted. Israel needs to come in terms with making peace with her neighbors. That would mean mutual respect and keen interest in participating in remaking of the region where jews, muslims and Christians can live and prosper together. After all jews, muslims and Christians lived together in peace prior to the formation of state of Israel and there would be no reason why they can not remake that harmony again.

    November 24, 2013 at 11:24 pm | Reply
  14. maias

    Let us read between the lines of Naftali Bennett’s comments
    1) A bad nuclear deal between Iran and world powers “will lead to war. So you want the US, UK, EU, Russia, etc to appease lsrael?
    2) “There’s no one who wants a war less than us,”. You expect the USA and UK to fight your wars for you.
    3) A good deal would be one that “dismantles the nuclear weapon production machine” – except the one in lsrael.
    4) Iran would have the ability to produce a nuclear weapon at the flick of a switch, “within six weeks.” And Bennett should know! lsrael’s Dimona reactor became active sometime between 1962 and 1964, and with the plutonium produced there the Israel Defense Forces most probably had their first nuclear weapons ready before the Six-Day War.
    5) If a “bad deal” is brokered with Iran, military action will become inevitable. Meaning that lsrael will again go against the will of the international community and do a pre-emptive strike against Iran. If any other country did this to lsrael there would be squeals of ”Terrorism!”
    6) “If five years from now, or ten years from now, a nuclear suitcase blows up in New York, it will be traced down to these very fateful days.” In other words, another false flag operation by lsrael
    7) “Israel has the ability to defend itself, and Israel will defend itself if necessary”. If Iran defends itself against lsrael’s attacks that allows lsrael to defend itself.
    8) “Iran right now is on the ropes,” and lsrael’s ‘rope a dope’ strategy (a la Muhammed Ali) has failed.
    9) “Now is the time to present Iran with an either/or decision,” Bennett said. “Either retain your nuclear program or you have an economy. You can’t have it both ways.” Just don’t threaten lsrael with an either/or decision: Comply with UN resolutions, and give the Palestinians the right of return to their lands, and allow IAEA inspections of lsrael’s Dimona nuclear facility, or lose your economy through sanctions and withdrawal of aid from the USA and the EU .
    10)“I think trying to enforce [an] artificial state in the heart of Israel, in Jerusalem, is a grave mistake”. Just don’t compare the Jerusalem comment with the western colonial powers creating a (artificial) Jewish colony in the heart of the Middle East when all other colonies were being granted independence by their colonial powers.
    11) “If the Palestinians want peace they have to do one simple thing: Recognize Israel as the Jewish homeland” – just don’t expect lsrael to recognise the right of the Palestinians to have a homeland within the 1967 borders.

    Unfortunately, the coin Bennett brought with him which he claimed was “used by Jews 2,000 years ago in the state of Israel,” is no longer legal tender – the same as lsrael’s demands to keep economic pressure on Iran’s peoples.

    November 27, 2013 at 12:27 am | Reply
    • Ron

      1.Bad deal means the continued construction of weapons of mass destruction that could endanger Israel. this is war.
      2.We could attack Iran long time ago, But we preferred to solve problems in diplomatically instead war. as we always do
      3.We does not threaten to destroy any country.
      Besides, some might say that the existence of the state depends on it
      4.Same answer
      5.I suggest you to check the term of "terrorism"
      7.No further claim. that quote just perfect- “Israel has the ability to defend itself, and Israel will defend itself if necessary”
      8.We have not said the last word yet. Israel signed that Iran will not have nuclear weapon. we will achieve this goal at any cost
      9.The "right of return" is invention false,the synonyms meaning is elimination of the jewish state. If they want to return somewhere, return to thier 22 Arab countries where they belong. not to the only Jewish state in the world
      10.They want control over east jerusalem, which includes the Western Wall.
      So I dont know where you live but I'm sure you would not want some of the holiest sites in your country delivered to the enemy.
      Jerusalem is the eternal city of Israel and the Palestinians can only dream about it
      11.67 lines are no longer relevant. Today, beyond that line live 350 thousand Israelis.
      But let's assume that the creation of a terrorist state is the right thing.
      the deportation of 350 thousand Israeliss is impossible. Not financially, not morally.

      March 10, 2014 at 2:56 am | Reply
  15. Mr.Dream

    good luck isreal ...i am happey i am not you are facing a real oven comming back ...if you attack iran the gulf oil will be gone and you stop and after what ...good luck isreal again with flafl ok ...and i say hello to iran and how is the heat is ok ...

    February 14, 2014 at 9:24 pm | Reply
  16. Mr.Dream

    jwes from africa ...the dna study prove it and they cover it and we living the game ....10 people only happey in this life....

    February 14, 2014 at 9:31 pm | Reply
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