US Secretary of State John Kerry. (AP/Andrew Harnik/File) (AP/Andrew Harnik/File)
US Secretary of State John Kerry
Yuval Steinitz

Minister Yuval Steinitz. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Responding to ominous remarks made by US Secretary Kerry, Israeli officials asserted their right to oppose the Iranian nuclear deal, which poses an existential threat to the Jewish state, and rejected the idea that Israel would be responsible for a “no” vote in Congress.

Israeli Minister Yuval Steinitz, who was entrusted with the Iran portfolio, rejected US Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks made on Sunday suggesting that Israel would be blamed if Congress voted against the nuclear agreement with Iran.

“The State of Israel will express its stances on the Iranian nuclear issue, which is relevant to its security and existence, and no one has the authority to threaten it,” Steinitz stated, Israel’s Walla news reports.

According to Steinitz, arguments against the agreement stem from objective concerns, which are not exclusively held by Israel. “Criticism of the agreement in the United States in general, and Congress in particular, is a result of the difficult flaw…and the loopholes that turn the so-called ‘tight and intrusive’ agreement into a farce.”

Aside from Steinitz, an unnamed Israeli official told The New York Times on Saturday that Israel will continue to voice its opinions, saying, “We reject the threat directed at Israel in recent days. The US Congress will make its decision based on the American interest, which includes the consideration of the US’ allies.”

“The regrettable attempt to intimidate Israel will not prevent us from voicing our concerns about the accord, which poses a direct threat to Israel’s security,” the official added.

Kerry’s made his comments during a public appearance at the Council of Foreign Relations in New York on Friday.

“I fear that what could happen is if Congress were to overturn [the deal], our friends in Israel could actually wind up being more isolated and more blamed,” Kerry declared. “And we would lose Europe and China and Russia with respect to whatever military action we might have to take because we will have turned our backs on a very legitimate program that allows us to put their program to the test over these next years.”

Michael Oren

MK MIchael Oren. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The statement was also rejected Member of Knesset (MK) Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to the US.

“If American legislators reject the nuclear deal, they will do so exclusively on the basis of US interests. The threat of the secretary of state who, in the past, warned that Israel was in danger of becoming an apartheid state, cannot deter us from fulfilling our national duty to oppose this dangerous deal,” Oren said in a statement.

Kerry also threatened recently that a unilateral strike on Iran would be a “huge mistake” which would entail dire consequences for Israel.

“That’d be an enormous mistake, a huge mistake with grave consequences for Israel and for the region, and I don’t think it’s necessary,” Kerry said during an NBC interview on Friday.

By: United with Israel Staff

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