Iran is trying to build an “aggressive empire” in the Middle East and seeking to build bases in Syria from which to attack Israel, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told delegates at the annual AIPAC convention in Washington DC on Tuesday.
“Darkness is descending on our region,” Netanyahu said in a speech brimming with confidence and showmanship in which he made no mention of the corruption scandals and coalition crises that threaten his administration. “Iran is building an aggressive empire: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Yemen, more to come. Now Iran is seeking to build permanent military bases in Syria, seeking to create a land bridge from Tartus, from Tehran to Tartus on the Mediterranean. And in addition to moving its army, its air force, its navy to Syria to be able to attack Israel from closer hand, it’s also seeking to develop, to build precision-guided missile factories in Syria and Lebanon against Israel.
“I will not let that happen. We will not let that happen. We must stop Iran. We will stop Iran,” Netanyahu promised to a standing ovation.
The prime minister said that in his previous appearance before the convention he had tried to warn the world that the nuclear deal with Iran was a threat to the survival of Israel and the security of the region, but said that his warnings had gone unheeded and Tehran had become even more aggressive.
“I warned that Iran’s regime had repeatedly lied to the international community, that it could not be trusted,” Netanyahu said. “I warned that the deal gives Iran a clear path toward developing a nuclear arsenal in little more than a decade. And I warned that by removing Iran’s sanctions, Iran’s regime would not become more moderate and peaceful, but more extreme and belligerent, much more dangerous. And that’s exactly what has happened.”