Iran is responsible for more than 80% of Israel’s security problems, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, quoting one of the country’s security agencies.
“We are not deterred, and we are also building our strength,” he said on Monday, during a ceremony at the Foreign Ministry marking 25 years since the bombing of the embassy in Buenos Aires. “Since the attack in Argentina, Israel has gotten much stronger.”
In addition, he said, Israel has mobilized others as well to fight the threats that Iran presents, “and we will continue to stand with determination against the aggression of Iran and its proxies.”
These comments came just hours before US President Donald Trump called the prime minister, and – according to a readout of the call put out by the Prime Minister’s Office – the two men spoke at length about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, its aggressiveness in the region and “about the need to work together to deal with these dangers.”
According to the readout, Netanyahu also expressed his appreciation for Trump’s strong condemnation of antisemitism during his speech last week to Congress. The two men met three weeks ago in Washington.
The call reportedly came while Netanyahu was, for the fourth time, being questioned by the police regarding two cases under investigation.
During the ceremony at the Foreign Ministry, Netanyahu said that it was clear from the very beginning that Iran was behind the 1992 bombing at the embassy in Argentina, which killed 29 people, including Israeli diplomats, and injured 250 more.
“Iran initiated and planned it, and Hezbollah, which does what it [Iran] says, carried it out,” he said.
That alliance will be foremost on Netanyahu’s mind when he travels to Russia on Thursday.
The premier has made clear in recent weeks that Jerusalem is very concerned that Iran is establishing a permanent foothold in Syria, and he will discuss this – and the close Iran-Hezbollah alliance – when he meets in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“I will make clear that we are determined to prevent Iran from tightening its grip on Syria, either on the ground or in the seas,” he said.
“Likewise, we will strongly oppose the presence of Shia militias in our midst, or near us, including the arming of Hezbollah with dangerous weapons.”
According to foreign reports, Israel has acted on a number of occasions to disrupt arms shipments from Iran intended for Hezbollah. “Our red lines are thick and clear, and we do not hesitate to act in order to preserve them,” Netanyahu said.
If the 1992 bombing wasn’t proof enough of the reach of Iran’s terrorist tentacles, the blast two years later at the AMIA building in Buenos Aires – where 87 people were killed and 100 injured – was another indication of the Islamic Republic’s malicious designs, he said.
“Iran is the greatest generator of terrorism in the world,” Netanyahu said, adding that there is a need to fight this terrorism, which is just one of Iran’s arms of aggression. He said the other arms include its desire for nuclear arms, its development of ballistic missiles and its sowing of instability throughout the Middle East.
The Iranian regime “continues to threaten Israel with destruction,” he said.