(photo credit: Courtesy)
In another attempt to reach out to Israel’s enemies, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has given an interview to an Iranian journalist based in the Czech capital Prague.
Liberman conducted the interview with Mehrad Mirdamadi, a journalist from “Radio Farda” (“Tomorrow” in Farsi), the Persian-language broadcast at US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
While it is considered one of the largest and most influential Iranian anti-government media outlets, the channel’s broadcasts have been continually blocked by Iranian authorities over its programming.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regularly publishes videos on his Facebook page subtitled in Farsi, in an attempt to reach out to Iranians and encourage them to stand up to a regime he says oppresses them.
The defense minister’s outreach to Iranians comes a year after IDF chief of staff gave a rare interview to Elaph, a Saudi newspaper published in London, which was the first time an IDF chief of staff has given an interview to an Arab outlet in over 12 years when then chief of staff Dan Halutz spoke to Qatar-based al-Jazeera.
Similar to Eisenkot’s interview, which was conducted at his office, Mirdamadi spoke with Liberman in his office at the Defense Ministry’s Kirya headquarters in Tel Aviv. The interview – which was held in both Farsi and English – was posted Thursday on Radio Farda’s website.
“We hope that our message is very clear, we will do everything to prevent any Iranian attempt to establish military bases in Syria or to bring in other Shiite militias that threaten Israel,” Liberman told Mirdamadi, stressing that Israel will not stop striking Iranian targets in Syria.
“We will try to destroy any Iranian military presence on Syrian territory, be it an air base, a naval base, a missile production factory, or the Shi’ite militias that they are bringing there from Pakistan, Iraq, and all of the Middle East,” he said.
In the interview, Lieberman accused Tehran of having adopted a “different approach” in Syria.
“They have adopted some other patterns of behavior in Syria because they understand that we are monitoring, we are watching, and we have all the political will and determination to prevent their desire to turn Syria into their forward base against Israel” from being fulfilled, he said.
“Iran is a sovereign country, and it has the right to maintain diplomatic and economic relations with Syria, but we will never agree to an Iranian military presence on Syrian soil, and we will not accept Iran’s efforts to harm Israel and destabilize the Middle East,” he added.
Reaching out the Iranians listening to the outlet, the defense minister said Tehran is going against the interests of the Iranian people by investing in its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
“Iran invests in terror instead of working for the younger generation,” Liberman said. “Instead of developing the economy and science, the Iranian regime invests only in military exercises and terrorism. It is a fanatical regime that has wasted until now more than $13 billion, and spends more than $2 billion each year on terror financing throughout the Middle East. This is against the interest of the Iranian people.”
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