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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech on Iran's nuclear program at the defence ministry in Tel Aviv on April 30, 2018

    Israeli Ambassador: Iran 'Will Pay the Price' if It Gains Foothold in Syria

    © AFP 2018 / Jack Guez
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    As tension in the Middle East grows, with Israel attacking "Iranian targets" in Syria and Iranian cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami threatening Israel with destruction if the country "acts foolishly," Radio Sputnik discussed the issue with Arye Mekel, Israeli ex-ambassador to Greece and diplomatic advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.

    Sputnik: What is your take on the claims made by this Iranian cleric?

    Well, their threats just prove why we cannot allow the Iranians to have their positions in Syria, namely they say clearly all the time that they want to destroy Israel, every time that they have their demonstrations chanting "Death to America," at the same time they chant "Death to Israel," and that's why we will not allow them to have their positions in Syria from which they can attack us.

    Sputnik: What consequences do you think this is having on the already strained relations between Iran and Israel at the moment?

    Well, certainly, as you said, there are strained relations. But there have been strained relations now, I think, since the ayatollahs took over Iran some 40 years ago. So, there is nothing new there. We don't intervene in what is going on in Syria, but we will not allow the Iranians to extend themselves there. They support other enemies to us, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

    READ MORE: Israelis 'Have Long Been Trying to Provoke Iran and its Allies' — Professor

    Sputnik: Now, we also have the fact that the United States and the United Kingdom have expressed their support for Israel's efforts to defend itself. How do you think this will influence Iran's agenda in the region?

    We would like to believe that Iran is led by serious or anyway reasonable leaders, when we look into the situation and we'll see. If they continue to try to establish positions in Syria and we don't allow it, they will pay the price. We know that Iran's economy is in shambles, especially now with the Americans withdrawing from the agreement with them. And they are wasting their money, they are wasting their personnel, they are wasting their efforts, and in these attempts to establish their positions in Syria, because we will not allow it. So, hopefully, they think it over and not try it anymore.

    The views and opinions expressed by Arye Mekel are those of the speaker and do not necessarily represent those of Sputnik.

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    nuclear deal, conflict, Iran, Israel
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