As Israel bowed its head in the memory of six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used the main Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at Yad Vashem to warn against the dangers of a nuclear Iran and told Tehran not to test Jerusalem’s resolve.
“There are those who delude themselves – as was the case in Munich in 1938 – that the [nuclear] agreement signed with the Iranian regime, a murderous regime, would stop its aggression,” Netanyahu said, referring to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal with Tehran.
“But throughout history we have seen time and time again how agreements with these kinds of regimes are not worth the paper they are written on. That is what happened with the Munich Agreement and that is what is happening with the nuclear accords. Signing a deal with Iran had not checked its aggression, it has only increased it. The agreement ignores Iran’s efforts to develop an industry of destruction of ballistic missiles and it allows it, later down the road, to enrich enormous amounts of uranium to create and arsenal of atomic bombs. The agreement freed the Iranian regime from its chains and since then it has devoured country after country, exactly as happened in Europe in the 1930s.”
Netanyahu’s comments came as tensions in the region have ramped up over the past few days, with Iran warning Israel Wednesday that it would exact retribution for a missile strike on a Syrian air base earlier in the week in which at least seven Iranian military officials were killed.
Iran, Syria and Russia blame Israel for the strike, but, so far, Jerusalem has kept silent, neither confirming nor denying responsibility.
Netanyahu warned Iran’s leaders “not to test Israel’s resolve.” At the same time he sent a message to the Iranian people that Israel is not its enemy. “It is the despotic regime that oppresses you. When that regime disappears from the world, and it will disappear eventually, our two ancient peoples – Jews and Persians, will once again be able to live in cooperation and fraternity,” Netanyahu said.
Shortly before his speech at Yad Vashem, Netanyahu called Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the Syria situation in the wake of the attack. A Kremlin readout said that Putin had “stressed the fundamental importance of respecting the sovereignty of Syria and called for refraining from any actions that might further destabilize the situation in the country and pose a threat to its security.”
A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said that “Israel would not accept Iranian military entrenchment in Syria.”