Israel vows to act against Iranian threats to annihilate it

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the 72nd session of the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York on September 19, 2017. (AFP / DON EMMERT)
Updated 20 September 2017
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Israel vows to act against Iranian threats to annihilate it

UNITED NATIONS: Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran Tuesday that as long as it seeks Israel’s destruction it will face no fiercer enemy than the Jewish state and he vowed to prevent Tehran from establishing permanent military bases in Syria and from producing weapons in Syria or Lebanon.
The Israeli leader said he had a message for Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: “The light of Israel will never be extinguished. ... Those who threaten us with annihilation put themselves in mortal peril.”
He again called for the “dangerous” nuclear deal with Iran to be scrapped or fixed, warning world leaders gathered at the UN General Assembly that if nothing changes Tehran will follow North Korea and produce hundreds of nuclear weapons.
“Nixing the deal means restoring massive pressure on Iran, including crippling sanctions, until Iran fully dismantles its nuclear weapons capability,” Netanyahu said. “Fixing the deal requires many things, among them inspecting military and any other site that is suspect, and penalizing Iran for every violation.”
Netanyahu called for the deal to be reworked to eliminate its expiration dates on certain provisions that limit Iran’s nuclear activity. In reality, Iran has little incentive to negotiate such concessions.
The Israeli leader also accused Iran of “conducting a campaign of conquest across the Middle East,” spreading a “curtain of tyranny and terror over Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere.” And he said it is developing ballistic missiles “to threaten the entire world.”
But Netanyahu said he also had a simple message for the Iranian people: “You are not our enemy, you are our friends.” And he repeated “you are our friends” in Farsi, one of Iran’s main languages.
“One day, my Iranian friends, you will be free from the evil regime that terrorizes you ... and when that day of liberation finally comes, the friendship between our two ancient peoples will surely flourish once again,” he said.
Netanyahu started his speech on a positive note, saying Israel is in the midst of “a great revolution — a revolution in Israel’s standing among nations.”
He said this is happening because “so many nations have woken up to what Israel can do for them” as a leader in innovation, technology, and in recognizing its “exceptional capabilities in fighting terrorism.”
As for the United Nations, Netanyahu said for too long it has been “the epicenter of global anti-Semitism.”
“And while it may take many years, I am absolutely confident that the revolution in Israel’s ties with individual nations will ultimately be reflected in this hall of nations,” he said.
Netanyanu said he made that statement because of the “marked change” in the US government’s position.
“Thanks to President (Donald) Trump’s unequivocal support for Israel in this body, that positive change is gathering force,” he said.


Abadi faces US wrath at U-turn on Iran sanctions

An intended visit to Tehran was canceled and Abadi’s office denied that the visit had even been planned. (REUTERS)
Updated 15 August 2018
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Abadi faces US wrath at U-turn on Iran sanctions

  • Iran has maintained close ties to Iraq's government since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein, Tehran's archenemy
  • The administration says the renewed sanctions are meant to pressure Tehran to halt its alleged support for international terrorism

BAGHDAD: Failure by Iraq to comply fully with tough new US economic sanctions against Iran would be insane, analysts told Arab News on Tuesday.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi risked incurring US wrath after contradicting himself in the space of a few hours over whether his country would comply.
Amid diplomatic maneuvers, as he negotiates for a second term in office after divisive and contested elections, Abadi offended both Tehran and Washington with conflicting statements on the US sanctions, which were reimposed last week.
First, the prime minister said that while Iraq disapproved of the new sanctions, it would reluctantly comply. “We don’t support the sanctions because they are a strategic error, but we will comply with them,” he said.
“Our economic situation is also difficult and we sympathize with Iran. But. at the same time, I will not make grand slogans that destroy my people and my country just to make certain people happy.”
His position provoked anger in Iran. An intended visit to Tehran on Tuesday to discuss the issue was canceled, and Abadi’s office denied that the visit had even been planned.
There was also criticism inside Iraq, especially from groups close to Tehran, such as the Asaib Ahl Al-Haq and Badr paramilitary movements.
Within hours, however, Abadi had reversed his position. “I did not say we abide by the sanctions, I said we abide by not using dollars in transactions. We have no other choice,” Abadi told a news conference in Baghdad.
Asked if Baghdad would stop imports of commodities, appliances and equipment by government companies from Iran, he said the matter was still being reviewed. “We honestly have not made any decision regarding this issue until now,” he said.
Michael Knights, the Lafer Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Arab News: “Iraq can’t afford to be cut off from the dollar-based global financial system, so it makes sense to avoid sanctioned Iranian financial entities. Iraq should also protect its dollar reserves.
“These are the only sane options for a country that desperately needs international investment.”
Iraq is the second-largest purchaser of Iranian non-oil exports, and bought about $6 billion worth of goods in 2017. It also buys Iranian-generated electricity to deal with chronic power cuts that have been a key factor sparking mass protests in recent weeks.
On Tuesday, the British renewable energy investor Quercus became the latest major company to pull out of Iran as a result of the new sanctions.
It halted construction of $570 million solar power plant in Iran, which would have been the sixth-largest in the world.