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Netanyahu Slams Iranian Aggression; Tehran Threatens Nuclear Response to Deal Collapse

PM Netanyahu addresses Christian Media Summit in Jerusalem. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday had a litany of accusations to share about Iranian misdeeds in the Middle East, from religious persecution to attempting a regional takeover. Earlier that same day, Iran reminded everyone of their ultimate threat by openly warning they would halt additional nuclear inspections if the nuclear deal between them and the major powers were to be annulled. “If the nuclear deal is annulled, we will stop implementation of the Additional Protocol,” said Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi according to a report by the Fars News Agency.

That “Additional Protocol” refers to expanded access to Iranian sites and information for the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), according to the agency’s website. But even if the deal is kept as is, Salehi said Iran still isn’t letting international inspectors see everything, specifically emphasizing that Iran won’t permit inspections of their military sites.

Refusing access to those sites was one complaint from United States President Donald Trump, which he noted in last week’s speech are suspected of having played a role in Iran’s secret nuclear weapons program, per the White House website. Netanyahu, for his part, reemphasized the danger posed if the nuclear deal with Iran remains as is, while also detailing what else Iran has been doing in the region. He again applauded Trump for saying that too.

Netanyahu, in comments to Christian journalists released by his office, said that Trump drew attention to two Iranian threats: “the nuclear threat of a deal that unless challenged would lead to a nuclear Iran, and the conventional threat of an Iran, an aggressive Iran that is spreading terrorism and aggression throughout this region.”

He continued, “And I think that the resoluteness with which he put forward this case yesterday made a big impression. I tell you on who it made a big impression. It made a big impression on America’s allies here and it made a big impression on Iran. They should be worried. Justly so.”

Iran, meanwhile, is worrying the region, according to Netanyahu, as well as traumatizing Christians in Iran. “As you all know, Christians are brutally persecuted in the Islamic Republic. Pastors are jailed for no reason, no reason other than for being Christian leaders… Christians have been brutally tortured for doing nothing more than practicing their faith,” said the Israeli leader.

“Now, some world leaders are willing to ignore this repression and seek to appease Iran, but I am not one of them.”

And outside Iran, the list of victims is also long.

“They’re in Yemen firing rockets deep into Saudi Arabia; they’re in Iraq killing people, now squeezing the Kurds; they’re in Syria, colonizing Syria and the intent to turn Syria into a military base for their war of destruction against Israel,” warned Netanyahu. “…[Iran] wants to build a Shiite arc, to create—it’s working on it, you know—which is Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon… they want this Shiite arc, to colonize it and control it, and everyone is concerned.”

And when Netanyahu says “everyone”, that includes Arab Muslim states—which he believes should emphasize Iran’s true threat. When it comes to Iran’s nuclear threat and their regional aggression, he said, “Israel and the leading Arab states see eye to eye.”

Continued the Israeli leader, “When Israel and the main Arab countries see eye to eye, you should pay attention, because something important is happening. We’re here. We know what we see.”

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, October 16, 2017)

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