"Iran must understand that the United States' determination on the nuclear issue is strong," Steinitz said at a conference of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs entitled Is Iran on the road to economic collapse? following the US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement.
"The US will be willing to use military pressure and even military action against Iran in the event that it returns to work to obtain nuclear weapons. At the end of the day, the US can destroy any nuclear facility in Iran no matter where it is and what air defense will protect it," Steinitz said.
He estimated that the mere threat of sanctions already leads to economic damage and discomfort in the regime and among its citizens. "Iran will have to choose whether or not it's ready to return to the negotiating table. If the economic pressure continues, I assume they'll be willing to make concessions on issues that the US is talking about."
The Minister says results of negotiations between the US administration and North Korea will have a great effect on the situation vis-à-vis Iran. "If negotiations succeed and North Korea disarms completely from its nuclear weapons and infrastructure, Iran will have no choice but to follow suit and surrender to the United States. In the event that the move against North Korea ends with American failure, Iran will reach an understanding that it too will be able to withstand US pressure and may act quickly to acquire its own nuclear weapons."
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs President and former Foreign Ministry Director General Dr. Dore Gold said during the discussion that "the Iranian regime chose weapons instead of butter. The Iranian public understands this and is outraged.
"The Obama administration thought it would be able to moderate the Iranian regime by means of the nuclear agreement and change it, but Iran in response increased its presence and expansion in the Middle East and tried to spread to Jordan as well as to Turkey."
"The world talks only about regime change, its overthrow, but not about the day after," said Jawad Khaddam, an exiled Iranian minister who served in post-revolution and now heads the Union for Democracy in Iran and lives in London.
"When addressing the Iranian public, it is important to take into account the middle class and its will. The middle class doesn't want forces the Trump government supports as a governing body."