by: Ilse Posselt
Wednesday, 01 February 2017 | On the eve of International Holocaust Memorial Day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the world continues to be plagued by “the hatred and intolerance that drove [the Holocaust]”. Yet today, he stated, the greatest hatred for the Jewish people and Israel comes from Iran where “the ayatollah regime” continues to fan the “flames and calling outright for the destruction of the Jewish state.”
Two days after Netanyahu issued his warning, the Islamic Republic conducted a medium-range ballistic missile test in direct violation of the United Nations (UN) resolutions put in place following the Iran nuclear deal. The missile in question, the Khorramshahr, is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and with a range of 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles) is “capable of reaching Israel.”
The missile test which took place on Sunday proved unsuccessful with the Khorramshahr flying only 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) before exploding mid-air. Regardless of the outcome, the test itself is in violation of UN Resolution 2231 which prohibits Iran from conducting such tests for a period of eight years.
Commenting on the test, Netanyahu hailed it as a “flagrant breach” of UN resolutions and called for the reinstatement of sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The prime minister who is set to meet with American President Donald Trump on February 15, also vowed to discuss with Trump the “entire failed nuclear accord” that Iran signed with the Obama administration and the rest of the P5+1 countries in 2015.
The Islamic Republic has conducted a number of similar missile test launches since the nuclear deal relaxed sanctions against the country. Iran has always defended these tests claiming that the development of weapons was solely for self-defense purposes. True to form, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif vowed yesterday that “Iran will never use missiles produced in Iran to attack any other country.”
Yet Netanyahu was quick to point out the holes in Zarif’s defense. Taking to Twitter, the prime minister posted to his official account showing pictures of a missile test Iran conducted in March 2016. The missiles launched during the test were inscribed with a message in bold blue Hebrew and Arabic script stating, “Israel must be destroyed.” The text above the two pictures in Netanyahu’s tweet questions Iran’s motives: “Iran’s foreign minister says Iran will never use its missiles to attack any other country. Really? Recently Iran tested a missile with the inscription, ‘Israel must be destroyed.’”
On Monday, Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, highlighted a reality that many would rather not contemplate. “This aggression [from Iran] is not only directed towards Israel, it is directed towards the entire Western world.”
Danon makes a pertinent point. Although Iran has made no bones about its ambition to annihilate Israel—to which it refers as “the little Satan”—the Jewish state is clearly not the only country on the Islamic Republic’s hit list. Iran also routinely calls for the destruction of America, also hailed as “the big Satan.” Moreover, the range of the Khorramshahr is reported to be 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles). With Jerusalem and Tehran located less than 2,000 kilometers (1,250) apart, one can only wonder who else Iran has in its crosshairs.
Danon’s statement certainly elicited reaction. The UN Security Council (UNSC) is scheduled for an emergency meeting to discuss the test. The United States reportedly requested the emergency meeting.
According to Israel’s Channel 10 television news, the test was clearly aimed at “testing Trump.” The newly sworn-in American president is an outspoken critic of the nuclear deal clinched under the previous administration. In fact, one of his campaign pledges was to dismantle the accord which he hailed as “disastrous” and “one of the dumbest deals” he has ever seen.
Trump appears to see eye-to-eye with Netanyahu when it comes to Iran’s nuclear future and the role that the accord could play in it. The prime minister believes the agreement to be “a bad deal” that paves instead of blocks Iran’s way to nuclear status.
Posted on February 1, 2017
Source: (Bridges for Peace, 01 February 2017)
Photo Credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO
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