Netanyahu to world: Don’t be fooled by Iran

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: International community must judge Iran by its actions, not its words • Netanyahu says Iranian President Hasan Rouhani’s U.N. speech was “cynical and full of hypocrisy” • Netanyahu to depart for U.S. on Saturday night.

Benjamin Netanyahu

“We will not be fooled by half-measures that merely provide a smokescreen for Iran’s continual pursuit of nuclear weapons, and the world should not be fooled either,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday in a statement following U.S. President Barack Obama’s address to the U.N. General Assembly.

“I appreciate President Obama’s statement that ‘Iran’s conciliatory words will have to be matched by action that is transparent and verifiable,’ and I look forward to discussing this with him in Washington next week,” Netanyahu said.

“Iran thinks that soothing words and token actions will enable it to continue on its path to the bomb,” Netanyahu continued. “Like North Korea before it, Iran will try to remove sanctions by offering cosmetic concessions, while preserving its ability to rapidly build a nuclear weapon at a time of its choosing.”

“Israel would welcome a genuine diplomatic solution that truly dismantles Iran’s capacity to develop nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu noted.

Netanyahu also responded to Iranian President Hasan Rouhani’s U.N. speech on Tuesday, calling it “cynical and full of hypocrisy.”

“Rouhani spoke about human rights at a time when Iranian forces are participating in the slaughter of innocent civilians in Syria,” Netanyahu said. “He condemned terrorism at a time when the Iranian regime carries out terrorism in dozens of countries worldwide. He spoke of a peaceful nuclear program at a time when the IAEA has established that the [Iranian] program has military characteristics, and when it’s plain to all that one of the world’s most oil-rich nations is not investing a fortune in ballistic missiles and underground nuclear facilities in order to produce electricity.”

“It was not for nothing that his speech had no realistic offer to halt Iran’s nuclear program and contained no commitment to uphold U.N. Security Council resolutions,” Netanyahu said. “This is exactly the Iranian plan — to talk, and buy time, in order to advance Iran’s capacity to attain nuclear weapons.”

“Rouhani knows this well — he is proud of how he fooled the West ten years ago [as Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator], when Iran was negotiating while simultaneously advancing its nuclear program,” Netanyahu said. “The international community must judge Iran by its actions, not its words.”

Regarding his decision to order Israel’s U.N. delegation to not attend Rouhani’s speech, Netanyahu said, “As the prime minister of Israel, the state of the Jewish people, I won’t allow an Israeli delegation to be part of a cynical public relations show put on by a regime that denies the Holocaust and calls for our destruction.”

Because of the Sukkot holiday and Shabbat, Netanyahu will only depart for the U.S. on Saturday night. He will address the U.N. on Tuesday, the final day of the General Assembly meeting.

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) said in response to Obama’s speech, “If this is the wind now blowing in our direction from the White House, we should expect enormous pressure from [Obama] later.”

Labor MK Isaac Herzog said, “Even without Obama, we must understand that the lack of a diplomatic solution between Israel and the Palestinians and the continued nuclearization of Iran are two problems that could endanger Israel.”

Intelligence, International Relations and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) represented the government at the opening of the U.N. General Assembly meeting. Steinitz held meetings with a number of officials, including the Norwegian and Czech foreign ministers and Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair.

Following Rouhani’s speech, Steinitz met with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. During the meeting, Steinitz emphasized that the mistakes made during past nuclear negotiations with North Korea should not be repeated with Iran.

Speaking to Ban, Steinitz said, “As a citizen of South Korea which is under a real nuclear threat, you understand better than us all the disastrous consequences of agreements based on gestures and illusions.”

“North Korea acquired nuclear weapons despite two signed agreements that were celebrated enthusiastically by the entire world,” Steinitz said.

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