Israel cannot depend on the United States to lead any action against Iran’s nuclear program and can only rely on itself, the country’s defense minister said in remarks published Tuesday.
The comments by Moshe Yaalon came as world powers and Iran were about to start a new round of talks over Iran’s contested nuclear program.
The West fears the program could be used to make a nuclear weapon and seeks to scale it back. Tehran denies the program has a military dimension and insists it is for peaceful purposes only, such as power generation. If a deal with world powers is reached, sanctions imposed on Iran over the nuclear program could be lifted.
Israel has criticized the ongoing talks with Tehran, saying an interim nuclear deal, struck last November, has left Iran’s military nuclear capabilities largely intact while giving it relief from some economic sanctions.
At the same time, Israel’s strongest piece of leverage, the threat of a military strike on Iran, has taken a back stage to the talks despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s insistence it remains on the table.
Yaalon’s remarks seemed to underscore that insistence.