TEL AVIV. – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Tehran yesterday over aggressions by Iran and its “proxies” in Syria, saying he would not allow them to “put a noose around our neck”.
Calling it “a message to the tyrants of Tehran”, he warned in a speech at the Munich Security Conference: “Do not test Israel’s resolve.”
His fiery comments came as tensions between the arch enemies have mounted after clashes involving Syrian forces this month, sparked by Israel’s downing of what it called an Iranian drone sent from Syria. With a theatrical flourish, Netanyahu brandished a rectangular piece of dark green metal at the podium.
“Here’s a piece of that Iranian drone, or what’s left of it, after we shot it down,” he said. Referring to Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who spoke later in Munich, he said: “No doubt Mr Zarif will brazenly deny Iran’s involvement in Syria.”
“Mr Zarif, do you recognise this? You should, it’s yours,” Netanyahu said, adding that the Iranian official “lies with eloquence”. Zarif responded by calling Netanyahu’s speech a “cartoonish circus” which “does not even deserve the dignity of a response.”
The clash came as Netanyahu again slammed the 2015 nuclear deal signed by Iran and world powers, which is under threat by opposition from the administration of US President Donald Trump.
Netanyahu compared the deal to the “appeasement” of the 1938 Munich Agreement that only emboldened Hitler, and said it allowed Iran to hide its continued efforts to build an atomic bomb.
“The sanctions relief that the deal provided has not moderated Iran… In fact it has unleashed a dangerous Iranian tiger in our region and beyond.”
“Once armed with nuclear weapons, Iran’s aggression will be unchecked, and it will encompass the entire world,” Netanyahu claimed. Those accusations were dismissed by Zarif.
“We will not be the first ones to violate an agreement which all of us tried, in spite of Netanyahu’s attempts, to achieve,” he said. – AFP