Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today said that the international community must ensure Syria is stripped of its chemical weapons as a lesson to its ally Iran.
Any impression of Syria getting away with its use of such arms would be taken as encouragement by Iran, which Israel and the West accuse of seeking to develop a nuclear arsenal, he said.
"Now it has to be ensured that the Syrian regime dismantles its chemical weapons and the world must make sure that those who use weapons of mass destruction will pay a price," Netanyahu said in remarks broadcast on army radio.
"The message that Syria gets will be clearly heard in Tehran," he said at a naval officers` graduation ceremony. He did not elaborate, but earlier President Shimon Peres warned that Washington would take military action against Syria should it fail to destroy its chemical stockpile in line with a Russian proposal.
"If Syria is honest and will take real steps to remove and destroy the chemical weapons in its territory, the US will not attack," Peres said in a statement.
But "if there will be a crack in Syria`s integrity, I have no doubt that the US will act militarily," he warned. US President Barack Obama yesterday postponed his threat to strike Syria, after President Bashar al-Assad`s regime welcomed a Russian proposal to gather and destroy its chemical arsenal.
But he said it was too early to say if the Russian plan would succeed. Syria demands the return of the Golan Heights which Israel, the Middle East`s sole if undeclared nuclear power, seized in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed.