Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said he is not responsible for the life expectancy of Iranian scientists in an exclusive interview with German newspaper Der Spiegel to be published early next week.
"I believe many historical studies will yet deal with the question of how the nuclear agreement with Iran was reached, Ya'alon said. "My gut feeling is that political leaders in the West preferred to postpone the problem to the next day, the next year, the next term of office. There have been certain points in history when people believed that appeasement could bring a solution, but ultimately paid a very high price, and that's exactly the case with Iran today."
"The negotiations managed by the powers led by the United States with the Iranian regime were a historic mistake," continued Ya'alon, who was interviewed this week by Ronen Bergman and Holger Stark.
"The deal will allow Iran to now become a country on the threshold of a military nuclear capability. Within a decade, they will be permitted to enrich uranium without any limits. Within a few months, if the deal is indeed implemented, the Iranians will receives hundreds of millions of dollars that they can use not only to improve the economy, but also for 'exporting the revolution', as they call it, give Hezbollah more money, give more money to Hamas or the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, give more money for the Houthis in Yemen, the Shi'ites in Bahrain, or the Shi'ites in Saudi Arabia. And what about the missiles covering all of Israel and parts of Europe? This subject is not even past of the nuclear deal."
Ya'aon said the only effective strategy against Iran is using pressure "that places a very clear dilemma before the regime: a nuclear bomb or surviving as a regime. This strategy is composed of diplomatic isolation of the regime and paralyzing economic sanctions, The final element of the strategy is a believable military option: If you don't abide by the UN resolution, you are going to be attacked."
The defense minister said Western hopes that the agreement would lead to political reform in the Islamic Republic are misguided and that human rights violations will only increase. "The still use cranes to hang people in markets," he said. "This is not going to be the Iranian Spring. I suggest that everyone forget about McDonald's in Tehran."
Asked whether Iran cannot serve a constructive role in the fight against the Islamic State terror organization, Ya'alon replied; "That is the only constructive role that Iran could possibly fill. In all the other regional conflicts, in Syria, Yemen, or the Gaza Strip, the Iranians are on the wrong side. This is an apocalyptic, messianic regime attempting to form a Shi'ite empire. "
The newspaper then asked Ya'alon a hypothetical question: If the heads of military intelligence and the Mossad were to tell him in the future that Iran had restarted the military aspects of its nuclear project – would he recommend a military strike on nuclear facilities?
"In such a situation, we would have to discuss the issue," said Ya'alon. "Ultimately, it's very clear – one way or another, Iran's military nuclear program must be stopped. We will work in every way and be unwilling to tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran. We prefer that this be done through a deal or sanctions, but ultimately, Israel must be prepared to protect itself."
Regarding Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's comparison between the agreement and opening the ovens at the death camps, Ya'alon said that "we have enough disagreement with the White House about the deal with Iran. The situation is bad enough without requiring such expressions."