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    Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

    Israel Uses Aggression as Policy, Attacks Syria, Lebanon - Iran's Zarif

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    On February 10, in response to the invasion of an UAV identified as Iranian, the Israeli Air Force attacked an airbase near the Syrian city of Palmyra and then hit a dozen more targets in the Damascus area, including anti-aircraft batteries and the "Iranian military presence" in the neighboring country.

    Iran's foreign minister said that Israel is using aggression as a policy, responsible for mass reprisals against its neighbor’s, daily incursions into Syria and Lebanon.

    "Israel uses aggression as a policy against its neighbours," Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the Munich Security Confefence, accusing Israel of "mass reprisals against its neighbours and daily incursions into Syria, Lebanon."

    "The entire speech was trying to evade the issue," Zarif said in reaction to Benjamin Netanyahu's address to the conference earlier. "What has happened in the past several days is the so-called invincibility (of Israel) has crumbled," he said of the February 10 downing of an Israeli jet.

    READ MORE: Netanyahu: Israel to Counter Iran's Attempts to Establish Itself in Syria

    According to Zarif, Israel is trying to "escape responsibility for its criminal policy and has been seeking scapegoats for many years."

    Zarif's speech comes after on February 10, the Israeli military's helicopter downed allegedly an Iranian drone in its airspace. In response, the Israeli Air Force attacked Iranian facilities in Syria, destroying a UAV control point.

    Following this, the Syrian air defense launched several anti-aircraft missiles against the Israeli F-16 fighter. The plane was destroyed and the pilots ejected, one of them was seriously wounded, the second was injured. Then Israeli planes attacked 12 positions in Syria, including eight Syrian airplanes and three anti-aircraft batteries.

    After the incident on February 10, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a telephone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and called on Tel Aviv "to avoid any steps that could lead to a new round of dangerous-for-all confrontation in the region."

    Iran Not Interested in 'Hegemony' in Persian Gulf

    Tehran has no interest in becoming a hegemon "devouring" the Persian Gulf region, and thus poses no threat to anybody, Zarif said.

    "We want a strong region. We do not want to be the hegemon in the region, as we believe that the era of hegemony has long passed regionally as well as globally… There is an interest [of some players] in showing that there is a disaster happening in the region, that Iran is devouring entire region, which is not the case. We don't believe in that, we don't believe that it is in our interest, we don't believe that’s possible," Zarif noted.

    The minister called for a strong region where various countries, even those who have been rivals, coexist and contribute to security, noting that hegemonic tendencies by any regional and global power result in instability.

    READ MORE: Netanyahu and More: Israeli PM About Future of Iranian Deal, Mid East Alliance

    Such situation is "not in goodness of anybody," Zarif continued.

    "It is not feasible. The hegemony is no longer feasible… So we need to start talking instead of creating the impression that there is a crisis," the Iranian diplomat pointed out.

    Zarif made his statements after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed during the MSC earlier on Sunday that Iran posed a great threat to all nations of the world, including European countries and the United States, and accused Tehran of developing ballistic missiles.

    On Iran's Nuclear Deal

    Tehran will respond if Iranian interests are not secured within the framework of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on its nuclear program, Zarif said.

    "I can assure you that if Iran’s interests are not secured, Iran will respond, will respond seriously and I believe it would be a response that people will be sorry for taking the erroneous actions they did," Zarif said at the 54th Munich Security Conference.

    In July 2015, Iran and the P5+1 group of nations — the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom plus Germany — signed the JCPOA. The agreement stipulates a gradual lifting of sanctions imposed on Iran in exchange for Tehran maintaining the peaceful nature of its nuclear program.

    The deal was sharply criticized by the US President Donald Trump, who refused to certify that Iran was in compliance with the agreement in October, but stopped short of pulling the United States out of the pact.

    In January, Trump announced that he would waive sanctions on Iran as required by the JCPOA, but said this would be the last time. He also threatened to withdraw the United States from the deal if it is not amended and asked the Congress to address the flaws in the "terrible Iran nuclear deal."

    Related:

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    Israeli Minister Warns Assad Against Allowing Iran to Cross 'Red Lines'
    'Israelis Backed by US Determined to Limit Iran's Role in Syria' - Analyst
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    Javad Zarif, Iran, Israel, Syria
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