Thursday, 13 December 2018 | Iran has repeatedly talked about the destruction of Israel, and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it clear he will do whatever it takes to keep Iran from fulfilling that vision. “Our red line is our survival. We do what is necessary to protect the State of Israel against the Iranian regime that openly calls for the annihilation of the Jewish state,” said Netanyahu on Wednesday. “I’m not ruling out doing anything that we need to do to defend ourselves.”
Speaking at the annual New Year’s toast for foreign journalists, Netanyahu was quoted by his office as pointing out that Israel is already militarily confronting Iran. “For the moment Israel’s military is the only military in the world that is directly engaging the Iranian forces. We’re doing that in Syria and pulling them back,” said the Israeli leader.
Netanyahu noted that Iran’s plan is to bring their army from 1,500 kilometers [932 mi.] away to Israel’s very own northern border in Syria. This would enable Iran to set up missiles capable of hitting anywhere in Israel and bring in tens of thousands of militia forces “with the express purpose of destroying us.”
“My policy has been we’re going to stop you,” said Netanyahu. “We’re going to stop things, bad things when they’re small. So we meet Iran head-on in Syria and if we need to we’ll do whatever else we need to do to protect ourselves. As you would too.”
Netanyahu’s comments about the threat from Iran came the same day that United States secretary of state Mike Pompeo told the United Nations Security Council that the danger from Iran’s missile program is growing, despite the Iran nuclear deal. In fact, Pompeo pointed out that a year after the deal went into effect, in January 2017, Iran tested a missile that could be used to launch nuclear warheads and hit some significant long-range targets. Iran’s range may even be further still, if Iran’s own Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is to be believed.
“[The 2017 missile’s] suspected range also approaches 2,000 kilometers [1,242 mi.], which is far enough to target Athens, Sofia, Bucharest, and other major European cities,” said Pompeo in comments published by the State Department. “If the IRGC airspace commander [Amir Hajizadeh] is telling the truth, and Iran has capabilities beyond 2,000 kilometers [1,242 mi.], other European capitals are at risk as well.”
Israel helped Pompeo make his point, providing evidence of Iran’s missile proliferation to proxies in the region as well as ongoing launches of missiles Pompeo said are “inherently capable of carrying nuclear weapons.”
Pompeo slammed the Iran nuclear deal again as failing to usher in a peaceful Iran, but instead protecting Iran from consequences of their malignant actions as well as provide them more funding for those activities. Instead, Pompeo said the US is “going to continue to be relentless in building a coalition of responsible nations who are serious in confronting the Iranian regime’s reckless ballistic missile activity.”
He also listed human rights abuses of Iran’s own citizens by the regime as part of America’s concerns about Iran.
With the US upping sanctions on Iran recently—even as Europe reportedly has plans to try to evade the measures in an effort to save the nuclear deal—Pompeo has his own vision on how the US can back off of Iran.
“If Iran makes a fundamental strategic shift and honors these demands, we are prepared to ease our pressure campaign and support the modernization and reintegration of the Iranian economy into the international economic system,” said Pompeo at the UN on Wednesday.
“But relief from our efforts will come only when we see tangible, demonstrated and sustained shifts in Tehran’s policies.”
Posted on December 13, 2018
Source: (The Mideast Update originally published this article on December 12, 2018. Time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today.)
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