Some in the West are falling prey to wishful thinking and are allowing themselves to be deceived by Iran over its nuclear program, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said on Wednesday.
During a tour of a military exercise held by the Paratroop Brigade on the Golan Heights, Ya’alon backed the speech given by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the United Nations on Tuesday, calling it an accurate description of how Israel views the Iranian threat.
“The Iranian threat is ongoing, on a daily basis.
Rouhani came with sweet talk, and unfortunately some elements in the West are tempted to go after their heart’s desire [and believe him]. Therefore, it is the prime minister of Israel’s obligation to present the accurate picture,” Ya’alon said.
“Iran is now activating terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq, funding, arming and training Hezbollah in Lebanon, trying to smuggle arms to Gaza, investing in terrorism infrastructure in South America and Asia, and the centrifuges continue to spin,” he said.
“We must warn against the temptation of easing sanctions before it is clear that this unconventional regime gives up on its unconventional capability,” he added.
“This is what the prime minister did yesterday, and I think he did so successfully against the Iranian charm offensive which I think many in the West prefer to follow... and not deal with reality with sober eyes,” Ya’alon stated.
The defense minister said Israel and the US ultimately agreed that the Iranian nuclear project had to be stopped through any means necessary.
Commenting on the situation in Syria, Ya’alon said that Syrian President Bashar Assad agreed to cooperate on chemical disarmament in order to survive.
“Does he plan to disband all of his chemical arms? Time will tell. We are of course following this and we hope that through diplomacy Syria will give up its chemical weapons. On the other hand, we’ll prepare [for all eventualities], and we’re viewing this with suspicion,” he added.
Despite the ongoing chaos in the region, things are quiet on the Golan Heights and on the borders with Lebanon, Gaza and Sinai, thanks to the IDF’s “quiet activities,” the defense minister said, adding Israel has succeeded in deterring the other side.
“I hope we’ll be able to safeguard this quiet in the future as well,” he stated.
Asked why the IDF didn’t return fire when gunmen in Syria shot at Israelis working on the border security barrier on Tuesday night, Ya’alon said, “Yesterday there were exchanges of fire [between Syrians] on the Golan Heights. It seems fire from light arms penetrated our territory but did not threaten any Israelis, and caused a small fire. Had we identified the source of the fire, we would have fired at it, but as we did not identify it, we held our fire. We destroy every source of fire that we identify shooting at our territory, deliberately or not.”
Referring to the scrambling of fighter jets by the Israel Air Force on Saturday, which was widely reported by the media, Ya’alon said that the pilots were dispatched because of suspicions that a hostile drone had intruded into Israeli air space, but that the alert proved to be unfounded.
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