Netanyahu: Iran turning Yemen into launching pad for missiles attacks on Israel

"We have executed on a maximum pressure campaign for sanctions. They have worked, they are working, they are cutting off the money," Mnuchin said.

October 28, 2019 18:46
2 minute read.
Netanyahu: Iran turning Yemen into launching pad for missiles attacks on Israel

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who urged him to crank up pressure on Iran at a press conference in Jerusalem. (photo credit: AMIT SHABI/YEDIOTH ACHRONOTH/POOL)

Iran is deploying precision weapons to Yemen “in order to strike Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday.

Netanyahu, speaking alongside visiting US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, said that Iran is seeking to develop precision guided missiles that can strike within 5-10 meters of any target in the Middle East.

This ability is being developed inside Iran, and the regime wants to place these missiles “in Iraq and Syria,” and to convert the 130,000 rockets in Lebanon’s arsenal into “precision guided munitions.”

“They seek also to develop that, and have already begun to put that in Yemen, with the goal of reaching Israel from there too,” he said.

This was one of the only times that Netanyahu has publicly spoken about Iran wanting to use Yemen to launch attacks against Israel.

Netanyahu began his brief remarks by praising the US for the killing on Sunday of Islamic State head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, saying that “It is good that this murderer has met his fate.”

He then quickly said that the ongoing battle against terrorism is both with the extremist Sunnis, led by Islamic State, “but also with the extremist Shi’ites led by Iran which is making a plunge for everything and everywhere in the Middle East.”

Sounding like he did five years ago when he urged the US under then president Barack Obama not to reduce pressure on Iran as the West began its fight against Islamic State – and to remember that Iran was the bigger threat in the region – Netanyahu said that Israel views Iran “as the greatest threat to peace, stability and our security, and the security of many others.”

Iran, he recalled, has fired missiles into Saudi Arabia, interfered with the international shipping lanes, and attacked and killed Americans over the last decade “in Afghanistan and elsewhere.”

“Iran is the greatest threat to stability and peace in the Middle East,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that there are no others – there are. The Middle East is rich in many things, and one of them is terrorist exporting nations and groups. So while there was a tremendous achievement yesterday in the action against the leader of Islamic State, there still remains a massive effort against the other forces of terrorism, and the terror state of Iran.”

Netanyahu praised the United States for the economic sanctions it has ramped up on Iran, and urged it to “do more, a lot more.”

Mnuchin, who noted that this was his fourth visit to Israel as treasury secretary, said the US has “a shared view” with Israel “as to the threats that Iran poses to the region and to the world.”

He said the US has deployed a “maximum pressure campaign” on Iran via sanctions, and “they are working.”

“We are cutting off the money,” he said. “We aren’t doing this to hurt the people of Iran. We are doing this so Iran stops its bad activities of exporting terrorism, and looking to create nuclear capabilities and missiles.”

Mnuchin said that the US would continue to ramp up the pressure, though he provided no new details. “I just came from a very productive working lunch with your team,” he said. “They gave us a bunch of very specific ideas that we will be following up.”

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