Speaking today before those who stand for Israel gathered at the annual AIPAC conference in Washington, D.C., Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was at times humorous, and at others deadly serious. After leaving the podium and even invoking a favorite Clint Eastwood film, Netanyahu spoke about the good and beautiful things that have come from the U.S.-Israel friendship, before turning to the bad that the two nations - and the entire free world - still must face:
The bad things are getting worse, and they’re very bad. The force behind so much of what is bad is this radical tyranny in Tehran. We must stop Iran.
When I last spoke here, I warned, tried to warn the world about a nuclear deal that was a threat to the survival of Israel, the security of the region, the peace of the world. I warned that Iran’s regime had repeatedly lied to the international community, that it could not be trusted. I warned that the deal gives Iran a clear path towards 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, ladies and gentlemen, that’s exactly what has happened.
Here is what Iran is doing today.
Darkness is descending on our region. 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.
Last week, we read in the Book of Esther about an earlier Persian attempt to exterminate our people. They failed then. They’ll fail now. We will never let Iran develop nuclear weapons – not now, not in ten years, not ever.
President Trump has made it clear that his administration will not accept Iran’s aggression in the region. He has made clear that he too will never accept a nuclear-armed Iran. That is the right policy. I salute President Trump on this. And the President has also made it clear that if the fatal flaws of the nuclear deal are not fixed, he will walk away from the deal and restore sanctions. Israel will be right there by America’s side. And let me tell you, so will other countries in the region.
As we counter Iran’s aggression, we should always remember, we should always remember the brave people of Iran: their suffering, their hopes, their courage. Women are jailed for removing their hijabs. Students are tortured and shot for advocating freedom. We stand with those in Iran who stand for freedom. Now I believe that a day will come when this horrible tyranny will disappear, will perish from the earth and at that point, the historic friendship between the people of Israel and the people of Persia will be reestablished. Today we have Haman. Tomorrow we’ll have Cyrus and friendship and peace.