Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday labelled Iran as “the most anti-Semitic regime on the planet” during an address in front of world leaders at a the Yad Vehsam Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. The gathering marked 75 year since the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp by Soviet forces.
Netanyahu told those in attendance, including US Vice President Mike Pence: “I am concerned that we have yet to see a unified and resolute stance against the most anti-Semitic regime on the planet. A regime that openly seeks to develop nuclear weapons and annihilate the one and only Jewish state.”
He added: “Israel salutes President Trump and Vice President Pence for confronting the tyrants of Tehran.”
Iran has the largest Jewish community in the Middle East outside Israel and even has a Jewish MP Siamak Moreh Sedq who condemned the recent assassination of General Qassem Soleimani as a “criminal act”. There are five permanent seats in the Iranian Parliament for its recognised religious minorities.
Shortly after the founding of the Islamic Republic, Ayatullah Khomeini stressed: “We recognise our Jews as separate from those godless Zionists.”
Tehran has denied accusations that it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons and insists its nuclear programme is peaceful. Currently a signatory state to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Iran has threatened to withdraw, citing Germany, France and Britain’s “improper behaviour” should they refer their dispute over the Iran nuclear deal to the UN Security Council.
Israel refuses to sign the NPT and is believed to possess as many as 400 nuclear weapons. Earlier this month, Netanyahu “accidentally” let slip that Israel is a nuclear power during a cabinet meeting, before correcting himself to say “energy power”.