Joseph Zaalishvili: Ms. Kirshenbaum, how do you feel about the upcoming agreement to the lifting of economic sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program? The West is proceeding as if Iran is ready to halt uranium enrichment, but in fact the IAEA has confirmed that Iran continues to enrich uranium.
Faina Kirshenbaum: I’m afraid that the new treaty will be worse than the old agreement. When they began negotiations with Iran, they said that some of the nuclear reactors would be shut down. So far, not one reactor is not closed, the enrichment of uranium is in full swing, and the old rhetoric of hatred for Western civilization and Israel continues. To enter into an agreement on such terms is unrealistic, and I believe that as long as the nuclear reactors are not shut down, the abolition of economic sanctions can only lead to the increased military and nuclear power of Iran. And this is very dangerous, primarily for Israel, but also for the entire free world.
JZ: Recently there began a rapprochement between Turkey and Iran. Together with the fact of the weakening U.S. intervention and presence in the Middle East, how can this affect the situation in the Middle East? Some time ago, Iran’s foreign minister was in Turkey, and in January 2014, the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan plans to visit Tehran. Has this been caused by the fact that the U.S. has eased its pressure on the region, and have Iran and Turkey found a common denominator, such as economic goals or — what else?
FK: I think that the strengthening of relations between Tehran and Ankara has no relation to the U.S. Turkey has been trying for some time to enter the European Union. They are having problems with that, and so Turkey has completely turned away from the Western world. She is now trying to take the position of leader of the Islamic and Arab world. If you look at the processes taking place in Turkey — a strong Islamization and a turning away from all that Kemal Ataturk did — for us, it is not surprising that Iran and Turkey have found each other.
JZ: The President of France,Â FranÃ§ois Hollande, came to Israel. What is your comment on this visit? Is Israel looking for a new friend to replace the United States, or in conjunction with the U.S.? I ask because recently the international media has been writing about increasingly strained relations between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu.
FK: First, the United States is a close friend of Israel. Israel has a lot of friends in the United States. No one is looking for any replacement. There is no doubt that Israel has its own interests, and in light of the visit of the president of France, we are strengthening our relationship with those parts of the European Union that support Israel’s position. We believe that the French president has been very clear in his position on Iran. We do not compare our friends to one another. We always say, these and others are our friends. We are looking for as many friends as we can to help us solve the problem of Iran’s nuclear program.
JZ: Prime Minister Netanyahu is flying to Moscow. What does Israel expect from this visit?
FK: Russia is supplying weapons to Syria. This interests us. We are concerned about the situation in Iran, the Iranian issue. I think that these are the issues that will arise at the meeting between Netanyahu and Putin.
JZ: President Peres said that if Iran becomes a nuclear power, a nuclear arms race will start in the Middle East. What can we expect then?
FK: I think that this will be the end of the world.