Netanyahu warns Iran 'not to test Israel's resolve'


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Iran "not to test Israel's resolve" in a speech delivered on Sunday at the Munich Security Conference.

Brandishing a piece of what Israel insists was an Iranian drone that crossed into its airspace last week, Netanyahu said: "Israel will not allow the Iranian regime to put a noose of terror around our neck."

Addressing Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was present at the conference but did not attend the event, Netanyahu asked whether he recognised the wreckage.

"You should. It's yours."

Iran has denied all involvement and in his address to the conference Zarif described Netanyahu's speech as "a circus" that did not merit a response. He said Israel and the United States were responsible for conflict in the Middle East.

Netanyahu issued a clear warning to Iran.

"We will act without hesitation to defend ourselves and we will act not just against Iran's proxies that are attacking us, but against Iran itself," he said. He urged Zarif to take a "message to the tyrants of Tehran: do not test Israel's resolve."

Netanyahu warned that once Iran was armed with nuclear weapons, which would happen in any case once the current nuclear agreement expires, "Iran's aggression will be unchecked."

But in his combative address on the conference's last day, Netanyahu saw a positive side for Israel in improved relations with Arab states.

"The threat of Iran has brought Israel and Arab countries closer together," he said. "Arab states no longer see Israel as their enemy, but as their ally" in the fight against extremism.

Netanyahu held up a map to show that Iran was seeking to create an "empire" stretching to the Mediterranean by "colonising" Syria and Lebanon and "devouring huge swathes of territory." Israel had its red lines and one of them was to prevent a permanent Iranian presence in these countries, Netanyahu said.    (dpa)

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