Iran: ‘Great Risk’ of War with Israel

Iran takes aim at 'hateful' Pence comments
DEBORAH DANAN

TEL AVIV – Iran’s foreign minister on Sunday claimed that Israel is “looking for war” and warned that its behavior along with that of the U.S. was increasing the prospects of a conflict in the region.

“Certainly, some people are looking for war … Israel,” Mohammad Javad Zarif told participants at the Munich Security Conference, according to remarks reported by Reuters.

His comment came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of a joint interest between Israel and Arab states in “war” against Iran — a comment that was later clarified as being a mistranslation of Netanyahu’s original Hebrew comments meaning “struggle against Iran.”

Zarif said that Israel was violating international law by carrying out strikes in Syria, and slammed European powers for doing nothing to stop Israel and the U.S.’s actions in the country.

“The risk [of war] is great. The risk will be even greater if you continue to turn a blind eye to severe violations of international law. Israeli behavior is putting international law on the shelf, U.S. behavior is putting international law on the shelf,” he said.

Zarif condemned the U.S. for “obsessing” over Iran.

“We have long been the target of an unhealthy fixation, let’s say obsession” from the U.S., he said.

Last week, Vice President Mike Pence called on European nations to follow in Washington’s footsteps and withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran. Zarif slammed Pence for “arrogantly demand[ing] that Europe must join the United States in undermining its own security and breaking its obligations,” and castigated France, Germany and Britain for not doing more to preserve the nuclear accord.

Iran, Pence said at a U.S.-led Middle East conference in Poland, was the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism and the “greatest threat to peace and security in the Middle East,” according to comments carried by AFP.

He criticized Britain, France and Germany for creating a financial mechanism aimed at circumventing U.S. sanctions on Iran that were reimposed by the Trump administration last year.

The EU had “led the effort to create mechanisms to break up our sanctions … against Iran’s murderous revolutionary regime,” Pence said.

“It is an ill-advised step that will only strengthen Iran, weaken the EU and create still more distance between Europe and the United States,” he added, according to Reuters.

“The time has come for our European partners to stop undermining U.S. sanctions against this murderous revolutionary regime,” Pence said. “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.”

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