Israeli defense minister sends stern warning to the Islamic Republic after a senior Iranian official vowed to punish Israel for a recent airstrike in Syria.
By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
In an interview with the London-based Saudi news site Elaph published Thursday, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman minced no words when it came to recent Iranian threats to “punish the Zionist entity” for its recent actions in Syria.
“If Iran attacks Tel Aviv, Israel will strike Tehran and destroy every Iranian military site that threatens Israel in Syria, whatever the price,” Liberman stated unequivocally.
He was reacting to statements being made by various senior Iranian officials over the last two weeks that Israel would be held accountable for a missile strike April 9th on a Syrian base that killed seven Iranian Quds Force members, including the head of their drone unit. Although Israel has not officially taken responsibility for the attack, a senior IDF officer confirmed it anonymously to the New York Times a week later.
Liberman added that he believed that the Iranian regime was on its last legs, and that an American pull-out from the nuclear deal would lead to Iran’s financial collapse.
Presumably, the right-wing politician was referring to the snap-back sanctions that would be put in place against Tehran in such a scenario, and the fact that Iran has ignored its own people’s welfare while spending billions on its adventures abroad.
Liberman noted that some $11 billion have gone to Syria, with an additional $2 billion given to Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror organizations. This was one of the major complaints raised in the mass anti-regime rallies held throughout Iran at the end of 2017.
With all that, however, the defense minister also stated that “Israel does not want war with anyone.”
Speaking to an Arabic language daily gives the defense minister access to a wider audience than usual, and it is no coincidence that it was a pro-Saudi site, as the Saudis lead the Sunni Muslim world and are sworn enemies of Shiite Iran. The interview covered other issues as well, however, such as the wider Arab-Israeli conflict, the current violence on the Gaza border, and even the anti-Israel activities of Arab Knesset members.
Liberman’s interview comes as he meets in Washington with his counterpart, James Mattis, and President Trump’s new national security advisor, John Bolton, to discuss security issues in the region. It is expected that the meetings will largely focus on Syria.