Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the international community Monday not to capitulate to Iran over its nuclear program, saying the Islamic Republic wants to destroy Israel, is closing in on the means to do so, and is a threat to world peace.
Speaking as the IAEA chief Yukiya Amano held talks in Tehran ahead of Wednesday’s resumption of international negotiations with Iran in Baghdad, and amid reports of a possible deal over the Iranian program, Netanyahu quoted remarks that he said were made Sunday by a top Iranian military leader. “The Iranian chief of staff,” said Netanyahu, “declared that Iran is committed to the complete destruction of Israel.”
Netanyahu was referring to a defense gathering in Tehran, at which Iran’s army chief, Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, was quoted as saying: “The Iranian nation is standing for its cause and that is the full annihilation of Israel.”
The Israeli prime minister, speaking at a civil service conference in Jerusalem, continued: “Iran wants to eliminate Israel and it is working to attain nuclear weapons in order to achieve that ambition.”
He urged the international community to show strength and purpose in its dealings with Tehran, “not weakness.” There must “no capitulation,” he insisted.
Specifically, he said, Iran must halt all enrichment of uranium, must ship out of the country all uranium enriched so far, and must dismantle its covertly built military facility near Qom. “That is Israel’s position, and it will not change,” he said.
Netanyahu’s remarks Monday evening came amid reports in Israel that Iran is indicating a willingness to consider allowing IAEA inspections of the Qom facility, and possibly, according to a Channel 2 report, to stop enriching uranium to 20%.