August 18, 2019

Bibi, Iranian Foreign Minister Trade Threats

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem June 2, 2019. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif lobbed barbs at each other on Monday on who was threatening to destroy their respective countries.

During a press conference in Tehran, Zarif accused Netanyahu of announcing his intentions to destroy Iran.

“If any country starts a war on Iran, it would definitely not be the one that ends it,” Zarif said.

Netanyahu fired back in a video calling Zarif a liar.

“Iran is the one that openly threatens everyday to destroy the state of Israel,” Netanyahu said. “Iran continues to entrench itself militarily in Syria, and today the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] reports that Iran is accelerating its nuclear program.

“I repeat: Israel will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons that threaten our existence, and endanger the entire world.”

The Times of Israel notes that Zarif was referencing Netanyahu saying in August 2018, “Whoever threatens us with destruction puts himself in similar danger.”

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said at a Monday press conference in Austria that Iran is “increasing” their uranium production and couldn’t definitively say if Iran is still complying with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Former IAEA Deputy Olli Heinonen said on June 5 that he thinks that Iran could develop a nuclear weapon in six-to-eight months.

On June 7, the Trump administration sanctioned Iran’s largest petrochemicals company for conducting business with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. President Donald Trump has said he prefers to hold negotiations with Iran, but acknowledges that war with Iran could occur at any time.