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'With Friends Like Israel, US Doesn’t Need Enemies’: Iran's Zarif Mocks Trump Amid Snooping Claims

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Late last week, President Trump told reporters that he didn’t believe that Israeli intelligence was spying on the White House after a media report alleged that Tel Aviv was behind the bugging of the US capital with advanced cellphone tower-mimicking devices aimed at monitoring US political leaders’ mobile communications.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has taken to Twitter to accuse Israeli Prime Minister and Donald Trump “BFF” Benjamin Netanyahu of being responsible for the StingRay snooping scandal.

“The #B_Team Strikes again,” Zarif wrote, referring to hawkish members of the Trump administration and Washington’s anti-Iranian allies in the Middle East, including Netanyahu in Israel.

“With a BFF in the #B_Team – who empties US coffers and takes US foreign policy hostage – SPYING on the US PRESIDENT, America doesn’t need enemies,” Zarif added, posting a link to the Politico article which broke the story on alleged Israeli spying in the US capital.

Zarif, who is known for his regular barbs against Netanyahu online, recently slammed the prime minister over his presentation about a new alleged Iranian secret ‘nuclear weapons site’, and claimed that Bibi’s motto since 1986 has been to fight Israel’s wars "to the last American soldier".

On Thursday, President Trump dismissed reports that Tel Aviv was behind the StingRay bugging scandal, calling his relationship with Israel “great” and saying he didn’t think Tel Aviv was spying on the US.

Earlier in the week, Politico published a report, citing former US officials, alleging that Israel has been spying on the White House and other DC politicians’ cell phones using the StingRay, a device imitating a cell tower, tricking phones within its radius of running data through its antennas, with operators then able to record and presumably listen in. Several such devices were discovered and removed across the Washington area in recent years, with no official statements issued on who is responsible for deploying them.  Israel blasted the Politico report, calling it a "blatant lie". Netanyahu dismissed the claims, saying “Israel doesn’t conduct espionage operations in the United States, period”.

Zarif’s latest tweet started a debate online, with some users showing their support for the Iranian foreign minister, while others asked him to stop the tweeting and to focus on his more urgent responsibilities. A few users also directed Zarif’s tweet to President Trump’s @realDonaldTrump handle, presumably hoping that the president would notice and respond.

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