Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu castigates Iran for persecuting Christians

(Reuters/Keith Bedford)Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu holds an illustration describing Iran's ability to create a nuclear weapon as he addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. Headquarters in New York, September 27, 2012.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has castigated Iran for persecuting Christians and has praised U.S. President Donald Trump for not ignoring the risks posed by the Islamic regime.

In his speech at the first Christian Media Summit in Jerusalem, Netanyahu called on Christian journalists to highlight the suffering of believers in Iran.

The prime minister noted that pastors in Iran have been jailed for no other reason than being a Christian leader and some believers have been brutally tortured for practicing their faith.

"Christians have been lashed, do you hear this, lashed for sipping wine during prayer services," Netanyahu said, according to CBN News.

"Some world leaders are willing to ignore this repression and seek to appease Iran, but I am not one of them. I think that how a country treats religious minorities is a very good indicator of how it will treat its fellow citizens and its neighbors," he continued.

Netanyahu commended Trump for his latest action that was aimed at tightening the nuclear deal with Iran signed by the Obama administration.

On Friday, Trump had announced that he will not certify that Iran is complying with its commitment under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The Israeli leader said that the announcement was very important not only for Israel but also "for the United States and for the future of the world."

He went on to encourage media outlets to draw attention to the plight of Christians suffering in Iran and to "call out the lie and the lies of President [Hasan] Rouhani," whom he said promised in 2013 that all religions would "feel justice" in the Islamic country.

Netanyahu urged journalists to profile Christian leaders who were jailed for practicing their faith, and speak with the schoolteachers who were imprisoned merely for converting to Christianity.

The summit, which commenced at the Israel Museum on Sunday, was attended by more than 100 Christian journalists and speakers from around the world with the aim of learning about Israel's Biblical and modern history, including its security challenges.

At the end of the prime minister's speech, he took some questions from some members of the press. Citing Israel's relief efforts to victims of natural disasters around the world, CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell asked Netanyahu why, with all the dangers and struggles the tiny Jewish state faces, it rushes to help others.

The prime minister said that the nation is only fulfilling the Biblical prophecy that it would bring a "light unto the nations."

In recent months, the Jewish nation has sent relief goods and rescue teams to assist victims of the hurricanes that struck the Caribbean and the U.S., as well as the victims of the earthquakes in Mexico.

"People say, 'Well what are you doing? What is it that you get out of it?' And the answer is we're not getting out of it anything. We're fulfilling our deepest values. Israel is a light unto the nations," he said.

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