Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) was quick to fire back on Wednesday night, after Secretary of State John Kerry questioned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s judgment when it comes to Iran’s nuclear program.
Kerry, who testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that Netanyahu had been “extremely outspoken” about how bad the interim agreement between Iran and the West was and that he was ultimately wrong about it.
Speaking at a conference later on Wednesday, Steinitz said that “maybe he (Kerry) doesn’t know everything we know”.
“We know all we need to know, and we have an excellent picture of the negotiations," Steinitz declared, according to the website of the Makor Rishon newspaper.
He added that Israel is in close contact with the negotiating teams who are engaging with Iranian representatives, and is well versed in the talks currently taking place between the parties.
Steinitz further claimed that the information Israel has obtained so far "is why we are concerned", and stressed that “the relationship between Israel and the United States is a strategic asset, but when it comes to Israel’s security, we are also prepared to fight.”
Regarding Netanyahu’s upcoming Congress speech which has become a point of contention between the two countries, Steinitz said, "This is a critical issue for our existence so we need to make every effort to prevent the agreement or at least ensure repairs, improvements and conditions are made in order to prevent a worse agreement."
Kerry’s comments marked the second time in as many days that he has taken a jab at Israel and Netanyahu. On Tuesday, he was not as direct, not mentioning Netanyahu by name but saying that those voicing their opposition to deal being negotiated with Iran over its nuclear program are "uninformed."
"The President has made clear – I can't state this more firmly: the policy is Iran will not get a nuclear weapon. Anybody running around right now, jumping to say well, we don't like the deal, or this or that, doesn't know what the deal is. There is no deal yet," Kerry told a Congressional hearing.
His comments followed a statement by Netanyahu earlier in the day in which the prime minister said information he'd received showed a looming deal between Iran and world powers would allow the Islamic Republic to reach the nuclear threshold.