'Iran giving Assad personnel to kill own people'

Netanyahu tells German daily that Iran, Hezbollah supporting "brutality," "butchery"; avoids answering if West should intervene.

By
June 5, 2012 18:21
2 minute read.
Nasrallah, Assad and Ahmadinejad on Thursday

Nasrallah Assad Ahmadinejad 311. (photo credit: courtesy)

 
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Iran is providing Syrian President Bashar Assad with both arms and personnel to butcher his people, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in an interview published Tuesday in the German daily Bild.

"I think what is happening in Syria is awful, it is wholesale murder," Netanyahu said. "And you have to understand who is supporting this brutality, this butchery – it is Iran and Hezbollah. I mean supporting them physically. Killers supporting killers, giving them weapons, personnel to actually do the killing. This is what we are facing: Iran, which brutally murdered its people on the streets, Syria which has perfected the technique of shelling its own civilian population with artillery." Netanyahu, who has weighed his words on Syria very carefully since the uprising began there last year, was careful, however, not to answer directly whether he thought the West should intervene in Syria militarily.

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"That’s a decision for the leading powers who are now talking about it. The less I say as Prime Minister of Israel, the better. The more I speak about it, I will be causing damage to the people we want to help," he said.

Netanyahu bewailed in the interview that despite all the international pressure, "the Iranian nuclear program has not slowed down by one millimeter." Germany is a member of the P5+1, along with the US, Russia, China, France and Britain, that is currently negotiating with the Iranians over their nuclear program.

Netanyahu explained how a nuclear bomb works, saying that it is filled with explosive material – "called fissile material" -- prepared from uranium enriched at a low percentage.

"Iran has that already," he said, explaining that the process of filling the bomb is made much faster when the uranium is enriched to a higher percentage.

"What they are being asked now to do is not stop filling the canister, not to stop enrichment, not to take away the material," Netanyahu said, in a criticism of the P5+1's negotiating posture toward the Iranians. "The Iranians were only asked to stop 20 percent enrichment of uranium. That doesn’t stop their nuclear program in any way. It actually allows them to continue their nuclear program."

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Asked in the interview with the friendliest paper in Germany toward Israel what he thinks about polling numbers showing only 36% of Germans find Israel sympathetic, Netanyahu responded that there was a "vast misperception of Israel in Germany and in Western European society in general." Israel, he said, was "maligned day in, day out, and this maligning filters into the public consciousness. That’s a general problem. But it is particularly unfortunate with Germany because of the unique relationship and the unique history."

Netanyahu praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel's commitment to Israel's security, and said it was exemplified by "the recent sale of another German submarine, an important adjunct to our national security."

Although Netanyahu did not refer to a Der Spiegel report this week saying that Israel had equipped German-supplied submarines with nuclear warheads giving Israel a second strike capability," Netanyahu said the German submarines were "very important" for Israel's security.

Germany has already supplied Israel with 3 Dolphin-class submarines, with another three scheduled to be delivered by 2017.

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