Netanyahu threatens Iran with Israeli planes that can ‘reach everywhere’ in the Middle East
As tension mounts over Iran’s nuclear program, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned Tehran that Israeli warplanes can strike anywhere in the Middle East, “including Iran and Syria.”
“Iran has threatened recently to destroy Israel,” Netanyahu said in a video clip posted on Tuesday. “It is worthwhile for them to remember that these planes can reach everywhere in the Middle East, including Iran and Syria.”
Netanyahu delivered his stern lecture while standing in front of an F-35 fighter jet at Nevatim Airbase in central Israel. The Israeli Air Force has used its warplanes to strike supposed Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria numerous times, most recently pounding the cities of Damascus and Homs at the beginning of July – attacks that left multiple civilians dead. Last year, Israel became the world’s first military power to use the next-generation F-35 in a combat operation, reportedly against Iranian targets in Syria.
The Israeli leader’s video comes a week after Iranian parliamentarian Mojtaba Zolnour remarked that “if the US attacks us, only half an hour will remain of Israel’s lifespan.”
The Iranian leadership has stuck with a calmer line, with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stating in May that “there won’t be a war” between Iran and the US. Even the usually hardline Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps leader, Major General Hossein Salami, said on Monday that “the world knows” Tehran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon.
With tension between the US and Iran at boiling point following an American military buildup in the Persian Gulf and Iran’s downing of a US drone late last month, Tehran announced on Monday that it had stepped up its uranium enrichment beyond a cap set by the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal). Tehran also threatened further increases in refinement if European leaders fail to live up to their trade obligations under the deal.
Shortly before Netanyahu posted his video, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused ‘Bibi’ of playing a part in scuppering both the 2015 deal and another agreement 10 years earlier, saying the Israeli PM “hasn’t learned” from his past dealings with Iran.
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