Iran's FM blames 'illegal occupation' for regional problems

Iranian Foreign Minister responds to Netanyahu's AIPAC speech in which he vowed to stop Iran's nuclear program.

Elad Benari ,

Mohammad Javad Zarif
Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday responded to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s vow to stop his country’s nuclear program, saying that Israel was to blame for the problems in the Middle East.

“Despite Netanyahu’s claims, the fact is that illegal occupation lies at the heart of most of the calamities in our region,” Zarif wrote on Twitter.

“Historically, occupying another’s land has never been sustainable. This occupation, too --and the apartheid system that perpetuates it-- will not last long,” he added.

Speaking earlier at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, Netanyahu discussed Iran's efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon, as well as Tehran's growing influence across the Middle East.

"The bad news is that bad things are getting worse, and they're very bad. We have to deal with this challenge - and I'm thinking specifically about what do we do about Iran,” he said.

"The force behind so much of what is bad is this radical tyranny in Tehran. If I have one message for you today, it’s a very simple one. We must stop Iran. We will stop Iran,” vowed Netanyahu.

“When I last spoke here I warned 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.”

“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. We will never let Iran develop nuclear weapons. Not now, not in 10 years, not ever.”