Iran could black-mail any American city if it acquires nuclear weapons, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a visiting congressional bi-partisan delegation on Thursday.
“To have Iran being able to threaten every city in the United States with nuclear blackmail is a changing of history,” Netanyahu said.
"Iran is 50 North Koreas. It is not merely a neighborhood bully like the dynasty that rules North Korea,” he said.
“This is an ideological force that views us, Israel, as the small Satan, and views you as the Great Satan,” he told the delegation led by House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Michael Turner, who is a Republican from Ohio.
The dangers of nuclear Iran
His delegation’s visit follows that of Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who addressed the Knesset plenum earlier this week and met with Netanyahu. They also spoke about the dangers of a nuclear Iran.
Netanyahu has pressed his allies, particularly the United States on Iran since he returned to power at the end of December. It’s a move made easier by Iran’s growing ties with Russia.
As Israel and the West have more strongly aligned on Iran, Tehran has looked to bolster its regional ties.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi met counterpart Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Wednesday in the first visit by an Iranian head of state since Syria's war began in 2011, underlining close ties as Syrian relations with Arab states thaw.
With military and economic support from both Iran and Russia, Assad regained control of most of Syria from rebels that were backed by regional countries now seeking dialogue with him.
Raisi's visit comes as Iran and regional rival Saudi Arabia rebuild relations after years of tensions, and as Arab states that shunned Assad - including Riyadh - rebuild ties with his government.
US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters in Washington on Wednesday that the Raisi-Assad meeting should be of concern to the region and the world.
“These are two regimes that have continued to partake in malign, destabilizing activities – not just in their immediate countries but also in the region broadly.”
Reuters contributed to this report.