United Nations, Sep 20 (AFP) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed today to fight an “Iranian curtain” descending on the Middle East, pledging to prevent Tehran from ever establishing a permanent foothold in Syria.Also Read - Donald Trump Asks US Judge to Force Twitter to Restore His Account

Netanyahu — who in recent years has coined his own sort of theatre at the annual United Nations speech marathon with podium props and dramatic warnings — was in a lighter mood for 2017, cracking jokes and rejoicing over the rise of US President Donald Trump. Also Read - PM Modi, Mamata Banerjee, Adar Poonawalla on Time Magazine's 100 ‘Most Influential People of 2021

But his message was ultimately no less severe as he chose to echo Winston Churchill’s 1946 speech that declared that communist Eastern Europe had come under an “Iron Curtain” of Soviet subjugation. Also Read - Trump Claims He Can Knock Out Joe Biden Within Seconds in Boxing Ring, Twitter Says 'Set it Up' | Watch

“From the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean, from Tehran to Tartus, an Iranian curtain is descending across the Middle East,” Netanyahu warned the General Assembly.

“Those who threaten us with annihilation put themselves in mortal peril. Israel will defend itself with the full force of our arms and the full power of our convictions.

“We will act to prevent Iran from establishing permanent military bases in Syria for its air, sea and ground forces,” he said, also vowing to prevent Iran from producing any weapons that could hit the Jewish state.

Iran has been aiding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iraq’s government in their fights against the Islamic State group, which has claimed responsibility for a slew of bloody attacks around the world.

Iran’s ruling Shiite clerics are also sworn foes of Israel and have supported the militant movements Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories.

Netanyahu has long insisted that Iran, which also has tense relations with major Sunni Arab states, is the pre- eminent threat and unsuccessfully fought to scuttle Iran’s 2015 deal with global powers to give up its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.

Netanyahu said he was proven right and that Iran since the agreement has been “like a hungry tiger unleashed, not joining the community of nations but devouring nations, one after the other.”

The right-leaning Israeli leader heaped praise on Trump, who in his own speech hours earlier said the deal with Iran championed by his predecessor Barack Obama was an “embarrassment” and separately threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if the regime attacks.

In years of listening to UN speeches, “none were bolder, none were more courageous and forthright than the one delivered by President Trump today,” Netanyahu said.

UN inspectors say Iran has fulfilled its commitments to give up its nuclear activities under the agreement, which was reached with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.

Netanyahu has doubted Iranian intentions and voiced concern that some provisions on curbing uranium enrichment do not go beyond 2025.

Netanyahu directed his barbs at Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Iranians in May overwhelmingly re- elected President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate who has campaigned on the nuclear deal and better relations with the West.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.