The idea is that a wealthier Iran will stop funding its terrorism. I think this is wishful thinking. To those who say this deal will change Iran, I say – You got it backwards. First, Iran should change. Only then should you reward it with technology and money.

 PM Netanyahu: First, Iran must change

 

Copyright: GPO/Amos Ben Gershom

Following is an excerpt from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech at the Herzliya Conference on Tuesday, 9 June 2015:

I think there’s a belief that if Iran is more prosperous at home, it’ll be less aggressive abroad. But 50 billion dollars, 150 billion dollars and more is a lot of money. Well, the idea is that a wealthier Iran will stop funding its terrorism. I think this is wishful thinking because this big money is big money for Iran’s worldwide campaigns of terror, big money for Iran’s regional aggression, big money for Iran’s unprecedented conventional arms buildup, big money for Iran’s cyber warfare program and big money for Iran’s nuclear program. And according to this deal, Iran gets this big money regardless of its behavior. That isn’t even mentioned in the deal.

Iran can actually get the best of both worlds – prosperity at home, aggression abroad. That’s happened before too. And Iran won’t be just a big threat to Israel. It’ll be a great threat to its Arab neighbors as well.

So how will they respond? How are they responding now? Some of them will pursue nuclear weapons of their own. And there are signs that this is already happening. But all of them, without exception, will seek more advanced conventional weapons too.

So the deal that is supposed to address proliferation in one country will spark both a nuclear and a conventional arms race in many countries in the most unstable part of the planet. It won’t make Israel safer.

Now, I know I’m often portrayed as the nuclear party pooper. And that would be okay if I was the only voice against the impending deal with Iran. But I speak with quite a few of our neighbors, more than you think, and I want to tell you that nobody in this region believes this deal will block Iran’s path to the bomb or as I said, to many bombs. And it’s worth noting that no one from this region, except Iran, is at the negotiating table.

Somebody once said: "If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu." The states with the most at stake are not even in the room.

To those who say this deal will change Iran, I say – You got it backwards. First, Iran should change. Then make the deal. Only then should you reward it with technology and money.

So with the greatest respect I say to our American friends – and we have no better friends and America has no better friends than Israel – I say, if Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country.

Now, we’re discussing all of this with the United States, but especially two problems that emerge. The first is the danger that the Middle East will be crisscrossed by nuclear tripwires as other states nuclearize, and the second is the massive inflow of weaponry that will go to those Arab countries who legitimately feel the fear of the Iranian build-up, conventional and non-conventional, and this place is a great challenge to Israel, a double challenge, because we hope that the countries that have not been shattered will remain whole, strong, stable, but we can’t guarantee that. And so Israel has to assume, has to act to ensure that it has the wherewithal, the capacity, the quantity and the quality of weaponry to be able to maintain its supremacy in the necessary fields to ensure our survival and our future.

Well, that’s the bad news.