The Iranian government is reminiscent of “dark regimes of the past” that tried to wipe out the Jews and then conquer the world, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday in Moscow, vowing to deny Iran nuclear weapons.
“The Iranians deny our past and repeat their commitment to wipe the State of Israel off the map. This reminds us of the dark regimes of the past that plotted against us first and then against all of humanity,” Netanyahu said in an address to Russian Jewish community leaders.
Efforts to portray the Islamic Republic as a peace-seeking nation are propaganda and do not show “the real Iran,” he said, noting that Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini on Wednesday “called Jews ‘rabid dogs’ and said that they were not human. The public responded to him with calls of ‘Death to America! Death to Israel!’ Doesn’t this sound familiar to you?”
“They must not have nuclear weapons — and I promise you that they will not have nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said.
The prime minister on Wednesday met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and, at a joint press conference, reiterated his demand for the full dismantling of the Iranian nuclear program. Channel 2 news reported, however, that Putin made “no promises” to Netanyahu that Russia would seek stiffer terms for Iran in the interim deal currently under discussion, and said that the prime minister would thus be leaving Moscow empty handed.
Iran is hoping to negotiate an easing of sanctions placed on the country by the West, which wishes to force it to roll back its nuclear program.
The latest round of international negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 powers (the permanent members of the US Security Council plus Germany) began on Wednesday, hours after Khamenei referred to Israel — which he called “the Zionist regime” — as “the rabid dog of the region.” Khamenei said Europe felt pressed to make concessions to Zionists “because of their economic network,” but said the “Zionist entity” was doomed to collapse, and that its people “should not be called humans,” according to a Channel 2 translation of his comments.
On Thursday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said that Khamenei, “someone who uses the words of Goebbels and Hitler when talking about the Jews,” has shown that Iran “certainly does not aim to acquire nuclear power for peaceful purposes.”
Liberman called on the representatives of the P5+1 countries to “pay attention” to Khamenei’s words. “The speech by Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, is the true face of the Iranian regime, not the false representation that [Iranian President Hassan] Rouhani and his people are showing the world,” Liberman said.
A round of meetings earlier in November nearly ended with the inking of an interim deal — under which Iran would have frozen part of its program in exchange for an easing of non-core sanctions — despite Israel’s strong objection to any agreement that leaves Iran with the ability to enrich uranium and produce plutonium. The deal on the table reportedly allows Iran to continue to enrich uranium to 3.5 percent during the six-month interim period during which a full deal would be sought.
French objections to the interim terms, under which Iran would also have been permitted to continue work on its Arak heavy water facility, apparently scuppered that agreement 10 days ago.