WASHINGTON — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Iran of seeking means to launch missiles at Israel from Yemen, where Tehran supports Houthi rebels. Netanyahu made the remark during a visit by a U.S. delegation, including presidential adviser Jared Kushner and U.S. secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin. Netanyahu is calling for tougher sanctions against Iran.
Netanyahu spoke of Iran's threat to Israel at an event in Jerusalem on Monday, coinciding with the visit of high U.S. officials.
"Iran wants to develop precision-guided missiles that can hit any target in Israel within five to 10 meters. Iran wants to use Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen as bases to attack Israel with statistical missiles and precision-guided missiles. That is a great, great danger. To ward off this danger, we have to do two things. First we must unite, because in the face of danger, we unite," he said.
But at a meeting Sunday between Israel's longtime leader and his chief political rival Benny Gantz, unity remained elusive. Israel's President Reuven Rivlin has tasked Gantz with trying to form a government after Netanyahu failed to do so after two inconclusive elections this year.
Both Netanyahu and Gantz met with visiting U.S. officials on Monday. Netanyahu called for more U.S. sanctions against Iran. U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the economic sanctions have worked so far and more will be imposed, if needed, to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
"We are not doing this to hurt the people of Iran. We are doing this so that Iran stops their bad activities and exporting terrorism, looking to create nuclear capabilities, and missiles,” he said. “And we will continue to ramp up more, more, more, as you said."
The U.S. delegation did not meet with Palestinian leaders during this visit to the region. The Palestinians ruled out any talks with U.S. officials after U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.