Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Netanyahu to world: Stop the self-deception on Iran

At press conference in Eilat, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presents the weapons seized from the Klos C • Netanyahu: Does anyone truly believe that Iran has given up its plans to develop nuclear weapons or long-range ballistic missiles?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presents the weapons that were seized
Photo credit: AFP
 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday presented the weapons arsenal that Israeli Navy commandos seized aboard the Klos C ship, which was intercepted in the Red Sea last week.
The weapons were originally flown from Syria to Iran, and from there to Iraq. The shipment was intercepted as it was being moved by boat from Iraq to Sudan, from where the weapons were to have been smuggled overland to Gaza.

Credit: Reuters
Speaking at a press conference at the Eilat port on Monday, Netanyahu said: "This time, in these containers, there were long-range missiles. Iran can load future containers with suitcases that have concealed nuclear weapons inside, which can be sent to ports all over the world. Before it is too late, the world must wake up and see the illusion in which it is living and prevent Iran from achieving the ability to create nuclear weapons."
The prime minister was joined by Defense Minister Moshe ("Bogie") Ya'alon, Israel Defense Forces Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot and Israeli Navy Commander Vice Adm. Ram Rothberg.

"If these lethal weapons had reached terror organizations in the Gaza Strip, they would have used them murderously, against the citizens of Israel," Netanyahu said.
"The M-302 missiles could have hit Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and even Haifa.From the moment the information about the boat reached my desk, my instructions were clear: Remove this threat from the citizens of Israel at any cost."
In addition to the 40 M-302 missiles found on the ship, there were 181 mortar shells and about 400,000 bullets. According to the Prime Minister's Office, Netanyahu took one of the bullets to show to foreign leaders he meets in the coming weeks.
Dozens of the green rockets were displayed on metal stands behind a podium where Netanyahu spoke. Stacks of bullets and plastic-wrapped mortar rounds lay nearby. A Navy missile boat that took part in the raid was docked behind the display.
"There are those who would prefer that we do not hold this news conference here today," Netanyahu said. "They feel uncomfortable that we show what is really happening inside Iran. They prefer that we continue to nurture the illusion that Iran has changed direction. They're not prepared to recognize that Iran, a brutal regime, has not abandoned its deep involvement in terrorism, its systematic efforts to undermine peace and security throughout the Middle East, and its ambition to destroy the State of Israel.
"Just as they [the Iranians] concealed these weapons in containers on this ship, they could tomorrow conceal in other containers the ultimate weapon, nuclear weapons, which they could ship to any port in the world."
Netanyahu fulfilled his promise to present documents linking the weapons cache to Iran at the press conference.
"The forged bill of lading that was presented to you here proves how Iran tries to disguise the loading of the weapons contained in this ship, the loading of the weapon containers on its own soil," he said.
The bill of lading originally stated that the Klos C had been loaded with 50 containers in Iraq, but beside the number 50, the digit 1 was added in to conceal the 100 containers loaded onto the ship in Iran.
The prime minister criticized the international community, saying: "This determination to ignore the truth that was exposed once again with the capture of the ship is first of all hypocritical. I said a moment ago that at most I heard a few faint condemnations of Iran from the international community after we intercepted this murderous shipment.
"We even saw representatives of the world powers shaking hands and smiling with the heads of Iran's regime, at the same time we were unloading these missiles here in Eilat. And, by contrast, if we build some apartment or some balcony in a neighborhood of Jerusalem, we hear a chorus of vociferous international condemnations against the State of Israel."
Netanayhu asked the crowd, "Does anyone truly believe that Iran has given up its plans to develop nuclear weapons or long-range ballistic missiles that are capable of carrying nuclear warheads to Europe and the United States?"
Netanyahu concluded his remarks with a simple message: "Those engaged in self-deception [about Iran's intentions] must awaken from their slumber."
Ya'alon said: "The Iranian regime is the largest exporter of terror in the world. This is the true face of the Iranian regime, behind the charm offensive and the smiles. We know how to defend ourselves on our own. We operate according to [Hillel the Elder's well-known phrase], 'If I am not for myself, who is for me?'"
Rothberg added: "We are at the end of the mission, and as always, we will debrief, learn, draw conclusions and prepare for future operations and challenges."
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki commented on the Klos C seizure Monday, saying, "We of course strongly condemn the violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929 even as we continue to resolve our efforts in [the nuclear negotiations]. We will continue to actively oppose and counter Iranian support of terrorism both in the region and internationally."
White House spokesman Jay Carney said, "We condemn in the strongest terms Iran's effort to supply terrorist organizations operating in the region with weaponry. The shipment of advanced weapons was believed to be bound for militant groups in Gaza, and posed a direct threat to the security of Israel. The Israeli government unloaded the seized vessel in Eilat this weekend, and we understand the vessel contained rockets, mortars and nearly 400,000 AK-47 shells."
Monday's presentation in Eilat did not receive major attention in the American media. However, Fox News ran a headline saying "Netanyahu blasts world's 'self-deception' on Iran as intercepted weapons unveiled," and the Washington Post titled its article on the event "Israel displays weapons seized in Red Sea raid as proof that Iran is an 'exporter of terror.'"

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