Israeli PM says better to confront Iran sooner than later

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on May 6, 2018. Netanyahu spoke about Iran’s nuclear program. (Jim Hollander/AFP)
Updated 06 May 2018
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Israeli PM says better to confront Iran sooner than later

  • Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel has "half a ton" of documents which prove Iran lied about its nuclear activities
  • The Israeli PM's comments come as US President Donald Trump considers ditching the nuclear deal

JERUSALEM: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday accused Iran of supplying advanced weapons to Syria that pose a danger to Israel, saying it’s better to confront Tehran sooner rather than later.
Israel has repeatedly warned it will not tolerate a lasting Iranian military presence in neighboring Syria, and is believed to have been behind recent airstrikes on Syrian military bases that killed Iranian soldiers, prompting Tehran to vow revenge. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied involvement.
Netanyahu told the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday that Iran has delivered advanced weapons to Syria “in order to attack us both on the battlefield and on the home front.”
“We are determined to block Iran’s aggression against us even if this means a struggle. Better now than later,” he said. “We do not want escalation, but we are prepared for any scenario.”
Israel has long viewed Iran as its biggest threat because of Tehran’s nuclear activities, its support for armed groups across the region and its leaders’ frequent calls for the destruction of the Jewish state. In recent years, Iran has provided crucial military support to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Netanyahu’s remarks came as President Donald Trump weighs whether to withdraw the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Netanyahu was an outspoken opponent of the deal, which required Iran to limit its nuclear enrichment in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions. Netanyahu says the deal will not prevent Iran, Israel’s most bitter enemy, from reaching nuclear weapons capability.
Last week, Netanyahu said a “half ton” of Iranian nuclear documents seized by Israeli intelligence revealed that Iran had lied about its past efforts to produce nuclear weapons. He did not provide any evidence that Iran has violated the 2015 nuclear deal, but said the documents prove Tehran cannot be trusted.
Israel is widely believed to be the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East, but has never publicly disclosed its arsenal.
European countries, which have been pressing Trump to stick with the deal, said Netanyahu’s presentation only reinforced the importance of the agreement, which provides for inspections.


Security tops agenda as Iraqi PM visits Egypt in first foreign trip

Updated 23 March 2019
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Security tops agenda as Iraqi PM visits Egypt in first foreign trip

  • After meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Abdul Mahdi highlighted “the importance of drying up the sources of terrorism”
  • The visit to Egypt is Abdul Mahdi’s first trip abroad since taking office in October

CAIRO: Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi sought Egypt’s support for efforts to tackle extremist militants in the region during a visit to Cairo on Saturday, his first trip abroad since taking office in October.
After meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, Abdul Mahdi highlighted “the importance of drying up the sources of terrorism” and said “cooperation between Egypt and Iraq will be essential for this matter,” according to an official statement.
His comments came as US-backed forces said they had captured Daesh’s last shred of territory in eastern Syria at Baghouz, ending its territorial rule over a self-proclaimed caliphate straddling Syria and Iraq after years of fighting.
Though the defeat ends the group’s grip over the extremist quasi-state that it declared in 2014, it remains a threat.
Some Daesh fighters still hold out in Syria’s remote central desert and in Iraqi cities they have slipped into the shadows, staging sudden shootings or kidnappings and awaiting a chance to rise again.
The United States thinks the group’s leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, is in Iraq.
Defeating militants in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and restoring security after years of unrest has been a key promise of El-Sisi, the general-turned-president who came to power a year after the military overthrew Islamist President Mohammed Mursi in 2013.
Egypt has fought an insurgency waged by a Daesh affiliate in North Sinai since 2013. Hundreds of members of the security forces have been killed.