Netanyahu: A nuclear Iran ‘infinitely more dangerous’ than North Korea

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures while giving a lecture at Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, in London Nov. 3, 2017. Netanyahu spoke to outline his government’s foreign policy priorities in light of the current geopolitical landscape across the Middle East and took part in a question and answer session. (AFP/Adrian Dennis)
Updated 04 November 2017
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Netanyahu: A nuclear Iran ‘infinitely more dangerous’ than North Korea

LONDON: Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu has said Iran would be “infinitely more dangerous” than North Korea should it develop nuclear weapons, pointing to Tehran’s aim for “world domination.”

Netanyahu, speaking at the Chatham House think-tank in London, pointed to Iran’s backing of Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen and Shiite militias in Iraq.

“The one potent force in militant Islam that has emerged is Iran. And it is devouring one nation after the other. It is doing so either by direct conflict, or more usually by using proxies,” Netanyahu said.

“The good news is that the other guys are getting together with Israel as never before.”

Pointing to a large map behind the stage at Chatham House, Netanyahu illustrated Iran’s apparent plan for a so-called Shiite crescent extending to Israel’s borders.

“They have actually a conception of world domination that should have gone out the window with the last religious wars,” he said.

“There’s something … irrational and dangerous in such a cause.”

Netanyahu said a “new alliance” has emerged between his country and the Sunni Arab states to combat an “irrational and dangerous” Iran.

Most Arab states do not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel, but Netanyahu said ties have been growing stronger due to the perceived threat from Tehran.

“There is something that I wouldn’t have expected in my lifetime, but we are working very hard to establish, and that is an affective alliance between Israel and the moderate Sunni states to (combat) the aggression from Iran,” he told the audience in London.

Netanyahu said that the “new alliance between Israel and the Sunni states” was not dependent on peace with Palestinians, but could lead to it.

He described the shift in Arab-Israeli relations as “dramatic,” adding that “attitudes to Israel are mellowing considerably” in the Arabian Gulf amid heightened tensions with Tehran.

States such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain have accused Iran of meddling in other countries’ affairs and see Iran as the largest state sponsor of terrorism.

“When Arabs and Israelis are saying the same thing, it’s worth paying attention to it,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu’s lecture came the day after he joined his British counterpart Theresa May at a dinner celebrating the Balfour Declaration of 1917.

The controversial document offered Britain’s support for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

Netanyahu said on Friday he hoped a US peace initiative on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will work.

Asked if he felt now was the moment for peace in the region, noting US President Donald Trump’s involvement in peace efforts, he said: “Hope so.”

“What’s being discussed now is an American initiative. Obviously we make our interests and our concerns known to Mr.Trump. He’s coming with a sort of refreshing ‘can-do’ ... they’re trying to think out of the box,” Netanyahu said.


Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed praises Jacinda Ardern and lights up Burj Khalifa to honor New Zealand

Updated 22 March 2019
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Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed praises Jacinda Ardern and lights up Burj Khalifa to honor New Zealand

DUBAI: Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai, thanked Jacinda Ardern on Friday for her ‘sincere empathy’ following the attack on two New Zealand mosques that killed 50 Muslims.

The world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, was illuminated in a gesture of solidarity with New Zealand and its prime minister.

Ardern has received widespread praise from around the world and in particular from Muslim countries and their leaders for the way she has handled the aftermath of the terrorist attack carried out by a white supremacist.

“New Zealand today fell silent in honor of the mosque attacks' martyrs,” Sheikh Mohammed tweeted. “Thank you PM Jacinda Ardern and New Zealand for your sincere empathy and support that has won the respect of 1.5 billion Muslims after the terrorist attack that shook the Muslim community around the world.”

Ardern led thousands of people in a two minute vigil on Friday as the shocked nation came together to remember those killed in the attack. 

She told those gathered in a park opposite the Al Noor mosque, where 42 people died, that: "New Zealand mourns with you. We are one.”

The prime minister’s response to the killings has been widely admired in helping the country come to terms with the atrocity. In the hours after the shootings she wore a black headscarf and visited members of the Muslim community.

She moved to reassure those caught up in the attacks and hugged survivors at a community center in Christchurch.

“We represent diversity, kindness, compassion,” Ms Ardern said on the day of the attack. “A home for those who share our values. Refuge for those who need it. And those values will not and cannot be shaken by this attack.”

She did not hesitate to describe the killings as a terrorist attack and said she would refuse to say the name of the killer who carried it out.

But she has also acted quickly with legislation. Her government banned on Thursday the sales of semi-automatic weapons.

“Ardern’s performance has been extraordinary - and I believe she will be strongly lauded for it both domestically and internationally,” political commentator Bryce Edwards of Victoria University in Wellington told Reuters.

Social media has been flooded with messages of admiration for Ardern, with many using her as an example for their own politicians to follow.