Netanyahu: ‘Tyrant’ Khamenei is wrong, Israel is here to stay
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Netanyahu: ‘Tyrant’ Khamenei is wrong, Israel is here to stay

After ayatollah says Jewish state won’t last 25 years, PM says Khamenei gives nuclear deal supporters ‘no room for illusion’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on September 7, 2015 (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on September 7, 2015 (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday dismissed comments by the Iranian supreme leader that Israel will have ceased to exist in 25 years, vowing the Jewish state is here to stay. The prime minister said remarks by the “tyrant” supreme leader left no “room for illusion” for supporters of the nuclear deal.

“Khamenei is not giving supporters of the agreement any room for illusion. He has made it clear that the US is the Great Satan and that Iran intends to destroy the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said after landing in London for talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron. “This will not happen. Israel is a strong country and it will become even stronger.”

The prime minister said the international community must band together to fight Iran’s “terrorism and aggression.

“However, the conclusion that arises from the remarks of the tyrant in Tehran is that all responsible countries must cooperate in order to stop Iran’s terrorism and aggression which, to my regret, will only increase as a result of the agreement,” said Netanyahu.

In this picture released by official website of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's office on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, he is seen speaking in a meeting with members of Iran's Experts Assembly in Tehran, Iran. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)
In this picture released by official website of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s office on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, he is seen speaking in a meeting with members of Iran’s Experts Assembly in Tehran, Iran. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

Khamenei said earlier Wednesday that Israel would not survive, making a series of threatening remarks published online.

In a quote posted to Twitter by his official account, Khamenei addresses Israel, saying, “You will not see next 25 years,” and adds that the Jewish state will be hounded until it is destroyed.

The quote appears against a backdrop of a photograph apparently showing the Iranian leader walking on an Israeli flag painted on a sidewalk.

“After negotiations, in Zionist regime they said they had no more concern about Iran for next 25 years; I’d say: Firstly, you will not see next 25 years; God willing, there will be nothing as Zionist regime by next 25 years. Secondly, until then, struggling, heroic and jihadi morale will leave no moment of serenity for Zionists,” the quote from Iran’s top leader reads in broken English.

The quote was taken from a speech given earlier in the day.

The remarks came as US lawmakers began to debate supporting a recent nuclear agreement between Tehran and six world powers. Critics of the deal have pointed to fiery anti-US and anti-Zionist rhetoric as proof that the regime should not be trusted.

The White House and other deal boosters argue that the pact, meant to keep Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, is based on verification, not trust.

Khamenei’s statements also reaffirmed his view that the US is a “Great Satan” and that there would be no detente with Washington beyond the nuclear talks.

“We approved talks with the United States about [the] nuclear issue specifically. We have not allowed talks with the US in other fields and we [do] not negotiate with them,” Khamenei said in statements published on his website.

Khamenei is quoted as saying any other talks would be “a tool for penetration and imposing their demands.”

On Twitter, Khamenei said talks with the US were a “means of infiltration and imposition of their wills.”

Quoting the founder of the Islamic Republic and his predecessor as supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Khamenei tweeted: “@IRKhomeini stated “US is the Great Satan,” some insist on depicting this Great Satan as an angel.”

The Twitter handle @IRKhomeini is an Iranian government account dedicated to Khomeini’s statements.

Some have pointed to the nuclear deal as an opening for Iran to repair long-frayed ties with the West.

Several senior European officials have traveled to Iran since the nuclear deal was reached to boost economic and diplomatic ties, including Austrian President Heinz Fischer, who on Monday became the first European leader to visit Tehran in over a decade.

On Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani signaled that Iran is ready to hold talks with world powers on ways to resolve Syria’s civil war — provided such negotiations could secure peace and democracy in the conflict-torn country, he said.

Iran, together with Russia, backs the embattled regime of Bashar Assad, who is opposed by much of the West.

AP contributed to this report.

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