Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that “an historic change of great importance to Israel” took place during last week’s Warsaw summit, in which “Arab states with whom (Israel) does not have (diplomatic) relations” united with Jerusalem’s position against its main adversary, the Islamic Republic of Iran. During Jerusalem’s weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu underscored that under the leadership of the United States, the international community is uniting to prevent Iran’s malign activities, and he vowed to continue “to act constantly” to ensure Israel’s security, amid Tehran’s aspirations to acquire nuclear weapons and to further entrench itself militarily in Syria. The Premier stressed “The relationship between Israel and the United States is stronger than it has ever been. In this conference (something) happened, perhaps something you noticed, a historic change of great importance to Israel. There were sixty Foreign Ministers and representatives of countries (in attendance), including Arab states with whom we do not have (diplomatic) relations, who sat with Israel and also united with Israel’s position against Iran. I told them that Iranian aggression is the main factor that destabilizes the Middle East and the entire world. I told them that we must prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and stop its military entrancement in Syria. We will continue to act constantly to ensure Israel’s security.”
To assure Israel’s freedom of military action against its northern neighbors, ensure the preservation of Jerusalem’s declared red-lines, the Prime Minister announced that “On Thursday I will meet in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin. We will discuss further strengthening of the coordination mechanism in order to prevent friction between the IDF and the Syrian army. These talks are very important, and they are part of our ongoing effort to ensure Israel’s freedom of action against Iran and its proxies, which declare their intention to use Syria as a front in their war to destroy Israel.”
While Netanyahu re-emphasized Jerusalem’s resolve to thwart the Islamic Republic’s military entrenchment along Israel’s northern frontier; the Foreign Minister of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif warned that the continued actions undertaken by Israel against Iranian forces in Syria have created ‘a great risk of war’ between the two countries. In a Q&A session at Germany’s annual ‘Munich Security Conference,’ the top Iranian diplomat asserted that the Islamic Republic – which entered Syria on the invitation of the Damascus regime – has the legitimacy, under international law, to operate in the war-torn country. Zarif said his county is “in Syria on the invitation of the Syrian government for the sole purpose of fighting terrorism, there’s no other reason for our being there. I think last time I checked international law: violating Lebanon’s airspace and shooting into Syria is a violation of international law. And the international community of all people in Europe which believes international law is the foundation of international order is blaming us and not blaming the Israelis for violating international law. So, let’s wake up.” When asked by the moderator if “The risk (of war with Israel) is great,” he replied “The risk is great. But the risk will be even greater if you continue to turn a blind eye to severe violations of international law.”
Before the Q&A session, Minister Zarif addressed the conference on the views Iran holds vis-à-vis the latest security developments across the Middle East, and the global arena at large. His address focused primarily on the Islamic Republic’s defiance of the United States, and he also took the opportunity to condemn the latest efforts undertaken by the E3, which include France, Britain and Germany, on their efforts to preserve the 2015 nuclear agreement. The Iranian Foreign Minister added that “For instance, INSTEX (special purpose vehicle) falls short of commitments by the E3 (France, Britain & Germany) to save the nuclear deal. Europe needs to be willing to get wet if it wants to swim against the dangerous tide of U.S. unilateralism.”
The Iranian regime’s frustration with Europe’s inability to provide the Islamic Republic with substantive economic relief amid crippling international sanctions that were imposed by the United States was brushed-off by European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, who stressed in a separate Q&A session that “if it was not for the European Union and its member states, starting from France, Germany and the U.K., if it was not for the European Union and member states and the three – I am sure the nuclear deal with Iran would have been dead long ago, probably May last year. If it is still in place, I believe it’s for the determination of the European Union, and the member states and the three to keep an agreement that we believe it is fundamental and crucial for our security, and it’s a fundamental pillar of the nonproliferation, nuclear nonproliferation architecture -globally. It’s because of our attachment to the U.N. system, and the JCPOA, at the end of the day, is an attachment to a U.N. Security Council Resolution.”
Mogherini did not mention, however, the fact that while U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231 calls for the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which is the technical term of the Iran nuclear deal; In Paragraph 3 of Annex B, the resolution calls upon Iran “not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology,” – a call that has been repeatedly rejected and violated by the Islamic Republic.
The European Union’s measures to preserve the JCPOA continue to strain its relations with the United States. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who attended the Munich Security Conference, urged Europe to change its policy and rally behind Washington’s efforts to give the Iranian people, the region, and the world, the peace, security and freedom they deserve. According to Pence, “The time has come for all of us to act. The time has come for our European partners to stop undermining U.S. sanctions against this murderous, revolutionary regime. The time has come for our European partners to stand with us, and with the Iranian people, our allies and friends in the region. The time has come for our European partners to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and join us as we bring the economic and diplomatic pressure necessary to give the Iranian people, the region, and the world, the peace, security and freedom they deserve.”