Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that Iran was advancing its nuclear program in order to destroy Israel, responding to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s declaration that the nuclear deal would not change the Islamic Republic’s belligerent attitude toward the U.S. or the Middle East.
“What I said was correct and accurate… Iran is advancing its nuclear program in order to destroy Israel.” said Netanyahu during a tour of the Israel Defense Force’s Northern Command Unit. “I’m here to examine from up close IDF’s readiness to deal with the threats we’re facing. The Israeli army is strong, Israel is strong. We are prepared for any scenario. We will hurt those who try to do us harm.”
Khamenei, the highest authority in Iran, told supporters on Saturday that U.S. policies in the region were “180 degrees” opposed to Iran’s, in a Tehran speech punctuated by chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon also responded to Khamenei’s remarks, saying Iran was clearly intent on resuming its funding of terror organizations the moment the nuclear deal with the West went into effect.
“It isn’t quiet on the Golan Heights, and it’s the Iranians ensuring that it does not stay quiet,” Ya’alon said. “They are trying to get their affiliates to carry out terror attacks against us. Representatives of the Revolutionary Guard are biding their time, waiting for the bad agreement with the Western powers to go into effect in order to transfer funds to Hezbollah and other terror organizations.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said Tuesday that Khamenei’s vow to defy American policies in the region despite the deal with world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program was “very troubling”.
“I don’t know how to interpret it at this point in time, except to take it at face value, that that’s his policy,” he said.
“But I do know that often comments are made publicly and things can evolve that are different. If it is the policy, it’s very disturbing, it’s very troubling,” he added.
Original Article: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.671732