Benjamin Netanyahu slams UN's 'deafening silence in face of Iranian threats to wipe out' Israel

The Israeli leader spoke on the day that hundreds of Iranian fighters crossed to Syria in support of President Assad

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Israel’s leader Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned what he described as a  “deafening silence in the face of Iranian threats” to wipe out his country.

Speaking at the United Nations on the day that hundreds of Iranian troops arrived in Syria to join a major ground offensive on behalf of the government of President Basher al-Assad, Mr Netanyahu took the opportunity to criticise the US and other countries for signing a nuclear deal with Iran. It said the praise the deal had earned internationally was a misjudgment.

“I wish I could take comfort in the claim that this deal blocks Iran’s path to nuclear weapons,” Mr. Netanyahu said in his speech at the annual meeting of the General Assembly. “But I can’t, because it doesn’t.”

Reports said there had been some anticipation ahead of Mr Netanyahu’s speech that he would use the opportunity to build bridges with the administration of Barack Obama, after the Israeli leader vociferously condemned the deal earlier this year. As it was, he did not.

Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, spoke at the General Assembly on Wednesday. He said Palestinians were no longer bound by the Oslo Accords

“Most Israelis believe this nuclear deal with Iran is a very bad deal,” said Mr Netanyahu. “And what makes matters even worse is that we see a world celebrating this bad news.”

His speech was frequently applauded by the Israeli delegation in the General Assembly hall, the New York Times reported. Delegates from the United States, which helped lead the negotiations on the nuclear agreement, were silent.

Mr Netanyahu opened his speech by reminding the General Assembly how Iran had sought to expel Israel from the United Nations more than three decades ago, reinforcing his argument that Iran is one of Israel’s most dangerous adversaries.

Describing Iran as “a dark theocracy that conquers its neighbours,” Mr Netanyahu rejected the view that Iran would use money freed by the nuclear deal’s sanctions relief for economic development.

“Here’s a general rule I learned,” he said. “When bad behaviour is rewarded, it only gets worse.”