by WorldTribune Staff, February 19, 2018
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Feb. 18 asserted that Israel “will act not just against Iran’s proxies that are attacking us, but against Iran itself.”
The comments were made in Netanyahu’s address to the Munich Security Conference at which Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was also present.
Holding a piece of what he said was an Iranian drone recently shot down by Israel, Netanyahu said: “Mr. Zarif: do you recognize this? You should. It’s yours. Don’t test Israel’s resolve.”
Israel downed the Iranian drone earlier this month after it had entered Israeli airspace.
“Iran also denies that it committed an act of aggression against Israel last week, that it sent a drone into our airspace to threaten our people,” Netanyahu said, pulling out the drone piece from behind the podium and holding it high up with one hand.
Netanyahu said Zarif “lies with eloquence,” and would “brazenly deny Iran’s nefarious involvement in Syria.”
Zarif, who addressed the conference later in the day, dismissed Netanyahu’s presentation as a “cartoonish circus, which does not even deserve a response.”
In an interview with NBC News on the sidelines of the conference, Zarif also mentioned Syria’s downing of an Israeli F-16.
After “30 years the Syrians were able to down one of its planes. And so the myth of invincibility of Israel, of the Israeli military, has crumbled,” Zarif said, adding Syria “was able to use its own means to bring down one of their planes. The answer is: Don’t violate their airspace.”
Of Netanyahu’s warning, Zarif said: “Well, if they try to exercise that threat, they will see the response.”
Netanyahu also slammed the Iran nuclear deal which was primarily orchestrated by the Obama administration.
With former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sitting in the front row, Netanyahu said the deal’s inspection regimen is completely insufficient, and that when the sun sets on the agreement in some 10 years’ time, the Iranians will have an “open highway” to build not only one nuclear device, but an entire nuclear arsenal.
To have nuclear weapons, Netanyahu said, “you need a gun, bullets, and gunpowder.”
The gun is the ballistic missiles that the Iranians are developing with no repercussions from the nuclear deal or UN Security Council, the prime minister said.
“They should be stopped and slammed with the most crippling sanctions to prevent them from continuing the development of these [nuclear] delivery systems, these guns,” he said.
Iran also is hiding the “casings for the bullets” at military sites, which the nuclear deal has placed out of bounds to inspectors, Netanyahu said.
The gunpowder is the enriched uranium, “which is the toughest thing to make for a nuclear weapon, because it is the most difficult to manufacture, requires big plants and precision engineering,” he said, adding that when the sun sets on the deal, Iran will be given “free rein to enrich uranium without limitations.”
Kerry said in a speech to the conference that it is wrong to assume Iran would obtain a nuclear weapon when the nuclear deal he helped negotiate ends.
“If your house is on fire, are you going to refuse to put it out because you are concerned it will light on fire again in 15 years? Or are you going to put it out and use the intervening time to prevent it ever catching fire again?” Kerry asked.
U.S. President Donald Trump recently decided to extend a waiver on nuclear sanctions that were imposed on Iran but added it would be the last time he would do so and ordered European allies and Congress to work with him to fix “the disastrous flaws” in the 2015 deal or Washington would withdraw.
Zarif said: “I believe President Trump has tried to walk away from that deal from Day 1 of his presidency, and he has done everything in bad faith to prevent Iran from enjoying the deal already.”