Iran’s foreign minister on Wednesday branded Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “warmonger” following the Israeli leader’s warning that any country calling for the Jewish state’s destruction could suffer the same fate.
“Iran, a country without nuclear weapons, is threatened with atomic annihilation by a warmonger standing next to an actual nuclear weapons factory,” Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on his official Twitter account.
“Beyond shameless in the gall,” he added.
Netanyahu was speaking earlier at the nuclear research facility in Dimona during a ceremony renaming it after the late statesman Shimon Peres.
Israel has never acknowledged possessing nuclear weapons, instead maintaining a policy of “strategic ambiguity.” Foreign reports have put the size of Israel’s nuclear arsenal in the dozens to hundreds of weapons.
Peres, who later became known for his efforts to reach peace with the Palestinians and Arab countries, played a leading role in the early development of Israel’s military industry and the nuclear facility in Dimona, which was initially portrayed to the world as a textile factory.
In his remarks, Netanyahu noted Israel’s commitment to peace with the Arab world while stressing that it remains ready to counter throats from adversaries both near and far.
Turning to Iran, he also said the Israeli military will continue to take action against Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria and issued an emphatic warning against those who call for Israel’s annihilation, such as the Islamic Republic.
“Whoever threatens us with destruction puts himself in similar danger, and in any case will not achieve his goal,” Netanyahu said.