Israeli Ambassador Demands 'Concrete Steps' From Iran
Sanctions have brought change of tack, Gilon says10 October, 17:22
(By Patrizio Nissirio).
(ANSA) - Roma, October 10 - Israel's ambassador to Italy has said any discussion over the lifting of sanctions against Iran must be evaluated only if Tehran takes concrete steps to assure the international community that the Middle Eastern nation doesn't have the capability to build nuclear warheads.
"It's quite clear to the Americans and to Israel that Iran is aspiring to nuclear weapons, it's quite clear to everyone that the sanctions on Iran are a big burden," Naor Gilon said in an interview with ANSA, commenting on Israeli Premier Benjamin Netyanhu's highly skeptical attitude to overtures being made by new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani. "The change in Iran is not Rouhani, he is not the one that brought the change. The sanctions brought the change of the need of Iran to change its attitude towards the West." "What has to be in a deal when we come to speak about Iran? "It has to be that first the Iranians make steps, before you start lifting the sanctions. "Because if you start lifting sanctions before you make steps, there will not be a way (to bring them) back" even if the Iranians violate, he said. "It has to be clear that the Iranian steps have to bring them to a situation where they don't have the capability to build a big number of nuclear warheads".
Gilon added that Rouhani is a well-known, established political figure, and cited an election campaign interview with the leader currently posted on You Tube as a reference of his strategy.
"My diplomacy enabled (Iran) to buy time", he said when the anchor carrying out the interview contested his appearing not to want a nuclear program, Gilon said. "He said it openly". "What is clear to Americans, to us, that we don't want to allow" the lifting of the embargo "that took us 10 years to create significant sanctions on Iran", he added Moving beyond the Middle East, Galin said that whilst Israel enjoyed excellent bilateral relationships with most European countries, dialogue stalls when it came to Israel's direct relationship with the European Union due to a "lower common denominator" approach.
"When we speak bilaterally with European countries, our relationship with the vast majority of European countries are excellent. "But actually they all want to enjoy cooperation in R and D and to have trade and now there is gas in Israel, and there is not only Italy but there are other countries in the EU that are also interested in that. "But when you have the European Union as a collective, somehow it is the lowest common denominator. It does not reflect the average of the views of the European countries, and this is a problem," Gilon said. He said the EU spoke of a Palestinian state while "there is not one".
"If they continue to reward them, they don't need to come back to the negotiating table," he said, also highlighting the difficulty of dealing with Gaza on the one hand and the West Bank on the other. "If we make a deal with the West Bank, what are we going to do with Gaza"? Other factors included Europe's weakness after the economic crisis and the instability of the region as a whole, Gilon said.
On Israel's controversial settlement policy, Gilon said "the obstacle is past experience (with the Palestinians), not the settlements".
Commenting on "excellent" bilateral ties, "which have not changed with successive governments", Gilo noted that Italian exports to Israel rose 15% last year despite the economic crisis.
"We cooperate in research, culture and in other fields like tourism. Last season 350-400,000 Israelis visited Italy, and that's 4-5% of the Israeli population.
"The bond goes beyond governments, it is between countries and peoples, and that is it's strength.
Gilon praised the Italian government for its attentive stance against anti-semitism and all threats to minorities which tend to grow at times of crisis.
"President Napolitano was among the first to speak strongly against anti-semitism, even the disguised kind which says 'I'm not an anti-semite, I'm an anti-Zionist". (ANSAmed).