At the Munich Security Conference on February 18, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif verbally attacked one another. Tensions have been rising between the two countries since the downing of an Israeli plane on a military mission against an Iranian installation in Syria following the shooting-down of an Israeli drone on February 10.
During his first-ever speech at the event, an annual conference of world leaders and experts discussing international security policy, Netanyahu compared Iran to Nazi Germany and referred to its government as a “regime” that “threatens peace” as the “greatest threat to the world.” He pointed out that Iran has been expanding its influence in the Middle East as the Islamic State’s power has diminished.
At the conference, Netanyahu also took out a piece of the drone that was supposedly shot down. With this so-called evidence, Netanyahu claimed, on behalf of Israel, “we will act, if necessary, not just against Iran’s proxies that are attacking us but against Iran itself.”
Although Netanyahu reassured later that he “has no problem with the people of Iran,” it seems like the Israeli government is likely to retaliate against Iran if any involvement with terror is discovered. However, any military operation from the Israeli side is still uncertain at this point due to the potential risk that Iran could organize reprisals from its Hezbollah allies in Lebanon.
On the other hand, Zarif commented that Netanyahu’s speech was a “cartoonish circus” that “does not deserve the dignity of a response.” He accused Netanyahu of “trying to evade issues” and Israel of continuously attacking its neighbors.