At an event designed to display Israel’s capturing of a massive Iranian arms shipment to Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday slammed Western nations engaged in talks with Iran – and indirectly the Obama administration — for deluding themselves into believing that Iran has abandoned its goal of developing nuclear weapons.
Netanyahu spoke in the southern port city of Eilat on Monday, where the Israel Defense Forces had displayed a huge cache of weapons intercepted last week that it said Iran was sending to terror groups in Gaza.
“They want to delude themselves that Iran abandoned its goal of obtaining nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said, addressing the international community.
The Israel Defense Forces said that among the advanced weapons found on the ship were long-range rockets capable of hitting almost anywhere in Israel.
Here are photos the IDF posted on Monday of the weapons including M-302 rockets, mortars and 400,000 bullets:
“I’ve heard at most minimal and faint condemnation of Iran by the international community to this murderous shipment,” Netanyahu said, calling the silence a reflection of “the age of hypocrisy.”
Without naming her, Netanyahu lambasted European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who visited Iran over the weekend.
“We witnessed smiles and handshakes of Western representatives with the head of the Iranian regime in Tehran, precisely while the missiles were being unloaded in Eilat,” Netanyahu said. “By comparison, if we build a balcony in some Jerusalem neighborhood we hear from the international community a chorus of harsh condemnations against the state of Israel."
Like other Western nations, the U.S. has repeatedly criticized Israel for building in Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
“Before it’s too late, the world needs to wake up from the illusion it’s in and to stop Iran from the ability to manufacture nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said.
Israeli military officials said the rockets and mortars had been stored in boxes and under cement bags on the ship.
According to IDF Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, the ship was carrying “40 M302 rockets, 181 mortars & 400,000 7.62mm bullets.”
“Just walked through a hanger with rows of these rockets from the #Iranian weapons shipment. All I can say is I'm happy they're in our hands,” Lerner tweeted on Saturday from the southern port city of Eilat.
The ship named the Klos-C was sailing under a Panamanian flag.
The IDF displayed the weapons on a dock in Eilat where journalists were taken and government officials toured, including Netanyahu who has previously said that the ship’s contents “expose the true face of Iran, which was behind it.”
Iran has denied any connection with the shipment, but the IDF posted a photo it said showed a seal on some of the weapons containers from the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Authority, as seen in this photo:
To emphasize the message for overseas audiences, the IDF press office created illustrations showing the map of Gaza positioned next to other countries, including the U.S.
“The maps demonstrate the reach of the M-302 rocket inside each of these countries,” the IDF press office said on its blog.
Netanyahu on Sunday earlier criticized the EU's Ashton who was visiting Tehran to discuss the Islamic Republic’s controversial nuclear program.
“I’d like to ask her if she asked her Iranian hosts about the delivery of weapons to terror groups, and if she didn’t ask, why not?” Netanyahu said, according to the Times of Israel.