Iranian foreign minister claims Israel a nuclear threat to the region; IAEA reports Iran has increased enriched uranium production, calls on Iran to abide by nuclear deal; German FM warns escalation could lead to regional war; Netanyahu: Israel will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons that threaten our existence and endanger the entire world.
Prime Minister Netanyahu responded to allegations from Iran’s foreign minister that Israel is a nuclear threat to the region, not the Islamic Republic, just hours after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed Iran has increased its production of enriched uranium. Chief of the IAEA Yukiya Amano reported on Monday that Iran has accelerated its uranium enrichment without giving details on the amount. He cited US-Iranian tensions as a threat to the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, nuclear deal) and called on Iran to “fully implements its nuclear-related commitments.”
Israel’s prime minister denounced and condemned comments by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif from Monday during a press conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Tehran. Referring to the Zionist “regime”, Zarif accused, “You should ask a regime possessing nuclear weapons about how Netanyahu stands next to the Dimona (reactor), a nuclear weapons site, and says Iran should be destroyed.” Zarif went on to again threaten the United States, claiming “Mr. Trump himself has announced that the US has launched an economic war against Iran. The only solution for reducing tensions in this region is stopping that economic war… Whoever starts a war with us will not be the one who finishes it.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu condemned Zarif’s comments, responding in a video address where he stated Monday night, “Zarif is lying again. Iran is the one that openly threatens, every day, to destroy the State of Israel. Iran continues to entrench itself militarily in Syria. And today, the IAEA reports that Iran is accelerating its nuclear program.” He reiterated Israel’s stance on Iran’s nuclear program, “I repeat: Israel will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons that threaten our existence and endanger the entire world.”
Israel’s nuclear program is covert and rarely addressed by Israeli officials. Israel, unlike Iran, has never threatened to use its nuclear options or annihilate other nations.
Germany’s foreign minister warned that the current situation is “highly explosive and extremely serious,” claiming that “a dangerous escalation of existing tensions can also lead to a military escalation.” He again vocalized the European Union’s commitment to the nuclear deal, but also Germany’s commitment to the State of Israel’s existence. “Israel’s right to exist is part of Germany’s founding principle and is completely non-negotiable. It is a result of our history and it’s irrevocable and doesn’t just change because I am currently in Tehran,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas stated Monday.