Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran’s ayatollahs of “planning a new genocide” against the Jewish people and vowed to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

During a speech on International Holocaust Remembrance Day Tuesday, Netanyahu said that his duty as PM was to “ensure that the State of Israel will never again be threatened with destruction,” and that the agreement being negotiated between the P5+1 world powers and Iran did constitute such a threat.

“The pending agreement with Iran is an agreement that endangers the State of Israel. It leaves Iran with the capabilities that will allow it to arm itself with nuclear weapons, one bomb at first and afterwards many atomic bombs. We cannot live with such an agreement,” he said at the Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem, adding that Israel will “reject any agreement that leaves Iran as a nuclear threshold state.”

“The ayatollahs in Iran, they deny the Holocaust while planning another genocide against our people. The Jewish people will defend itself by itself against any threat. That’s what the Jewish state is all about,” he went on.

Netanyahu warned that a nuclear deal with Tehran was “sure to spark a nuclear arms race in the region that would turn the Middle East into a nuclear tinderbox.”

Vowing to vigorously oppose any such scenario, Netanyahu said he will do what “needs to be done to ensure the security of the Jewish people and the one and only Jewish state.”

The prime minister lamented the resurgence of anti-Semitism around the world, and blasted the “obsession with the Jewish people and their state.”

Along with the assault and vilification of Jews in Europe, the Mideast and the West, Netanyahu said Israel was also being “assaulted with the same slurs and libels that have been leveled at the Jews since time immemorial.

“Some things just don’t change. But I can tell you today what has changed.We have changed. The Jews have changed. We are no longer a stateless people endlessly searching for a safe haven. We are no longer a powerless people begging others to protect us. Today we are an independent and sovereign people in our ancestral homeland. Today we can speak out against the hateful voices of those seeking our destruction. Today we can protect ourselves and defend our freedom,” said Netanyahu.

The prime minister’s remarks come amid heightened tensions with US President Barack Obama’s administration ahead of Netanyahu’s planned address to a joint session of Congress set for March 3, two weeks before Israeli national elections. Netanyahu is set to urge lawmakers to slap a new round of sanctions on Iran to force it to comply with international standards, a move Obama strongly opposes and has vowed to veto.