News ID: 210216
Published: 0133 GMT February 18, 2018
FM vows Iran will respond if US gives up on nuclear deal

Zarif: Israel’s ‘myth of invincibility’ has crumbled

Zarif: Israel’s ‘myth of invincibility’ has crumbled
Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iran’s Foreign Minister said on Sunday the shooting down of an Israeli jet after it bombed a military site in Syria had shattered Israel’s “so-called invincibility”, reacting to a speech delivered earlier by Israel’s premier.

“Israel uses aggression as a policy against its neighbors,” Mohammad Javad Zarif told the Munich Security Conference, accusing Israel of “mass reprisals against its neighbors and daily incursions into Syria, Lebanon.”

“Once the Syrians have the guts to down one of its planes it’s as if a disaster has happened,” Zarif said.

He was responding to Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the conference hours before, in which the Israeli prime minister, holding a piece of what he said was an Iranian drone, accused Iran of trying to impose an “empire” across the Middle East.

“What has happened in the past several days is the so-called invincibility (of Israel) has crumbled,” Zarif said of Netanyahu’s remarks, which followed the Feb. 10 downing of an Israeli F-16 jet.


Bibi’s ‘cartoonish circus’


Zarif also slammed Netanyahu for staging the "cartoonish circus" by showing the fragment at the event.

"You were the audience for a cartoonish circus just this morning which does not even deserve the dignity of a response," the top said.

 He said Israel was trying "to create these cartoonish images to blame others for its own strategic blunders, or maybe to evade the domestic crisis they're facing.




David Ivry, a former Israeli Air Force chief, said earlier this month he believed it was the first time an Israeli F-16 was brought down since Israel began using the jets in the 1980s.

Anti-aircraft fire downed the jet as it was returning from a bombing raid on military positions in Syria.

It was one of at least eight Israeli planes dispatched in response to what Israel said was an Iranian drone’s incursion into its airspace earlier on that day.

The jet was hit by a Syrian anti-aircraft missile and crashed in northern Israel, according to an Israeli official.


‘Delusional thinking’


Zarif, in his speech, repeatedly called Netanyahu “obsessive” in his focus on Iran as a threat to Israel’s security, and branded his assertion that Tehran would “do nothing” if the US pulled out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal as “delusional thinking.”

Netanyahu, an opponent of the deal, said Sunday that if the US refuses to keep approving the deal "I think they'll do nothing."

Zarif said: "I can assure that if Iran's interests are not secured, Iran will respond, will respond seriously and I believe it would be a response that means people would be sorry for taking the erroneous action they did."

Zarif said that "we will not be the first ones to violate" the agreement.

Reuters, AP and AFP contributed to this story.


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