Iran calls Israel PM's drone claim a "circus"


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, attending a security conference with worldwide leaders in Munich, on Sunday showed what he said was part of an Iranian drone shot down by Israel and warned that he was ready to go to war if Tehran continued to entrench itself in Syria.

Iran's Foreign Minister said on Sunday the shooting down of an Israeli jet after it bombed an Iranian site in Syria had shattered Israel's "so-called invincibility", reacting to a critical speech delivered earlier by Israel's premier. Now, with the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad gaining ground in its eight-year civil war with Iranian and Russian support, Israel fears Tehran will seek to build a permanent presence in its northern neighbour. "And we will act if necessary not just against Iran's proxies, that are attacking us, but against Iran itself", Netanyahu said.

Israel said Iran piloted the drone into its territory last week from a base it has established in Syria.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who also addressed the conference, called Mr Netanyahu's presentation "a cartoonish circus, which does not even deserve a response".

"We will not be the first ones to violate an agreement for which all of us tried - in spite of (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu's attempts - to achieve", Zarif said.

Among Israel's main concerns is Lebanon, where the heavily-armed Iran-backed Shi'ite militia Hezbollah is part of a coalition government.

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The tough words on both sides at the worldwide event come as Israel is increasingly seeking to cooperate with Sunni Arab states that share its worries about Shi'ite Iran.

But he says "we will defend ourselves" and that "we are for peace, yet we will not stand for any threat and we will not accept any aggression".

"There is special meaning to the fact that we are standing at the place where 11 of our athletes were murdered just because they were Jews and Israelis", Netanyahu said. "The war to prevent war is getting late - but it's not too late".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, an opponent of the deal, said Sunday that if the US refuses to keep approving the deal "I think they'll do nothing". "They're aggressive, they are developing ballistic missiles, they're not inspecting, they have a free highway to massive [uranium] enrichment".

President Donald Trump is deeply skeptical about the accord.