Israel is using a visit this week by the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, to highlight concerns about what it says are Iran’s efforts to produce advanced, precision weapons in Lebanon and Syria. Netanyahu asserted that Iran “is building sites to produce precision-guided missiles toward that end in both Syria and in Lebanon.” The New York Times reports.
“Iran is busy turning Syria into a base of military entrenchment,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a news conference with Mr. Guterres on Monday, “and it wants to use Syria and Lebanon as war fronts against its declared goal to eradicate Israel.”
“This is something Israel cannot accept. This is something the U.N. should not accept.” he added.
Israel’s Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, also spoke in his meeting with Guterres about Israel’s concerns about factories for precision weapons and what he called Iran’s repeated attempts to smuggle arms into Lebanon.
“We are determined to prevent any threat to the security of the citizens of Israel,” Lieberman said, according to a transcript of his remarks from his office.
The assertions are not new, but Israel now appears to want to put them on the international agenda.
Israel’s chief of military intelligence, Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi, told an audience at a policy conference in Herzliya, Israel, in June that Iran had been working over the past year to set up independent production facilities in Lebanon to manufacture precise weapons, which use advanced technology to guide them to specific targets.
The beneficiary, he said, would be Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite organization, with which Israel fought an inconclusive, monthlong war in 2006. Adding that Iran was setting up similar facilities in Yemen, General Halevi warned, “We cannot remain indifferent to this and we don’t.”