Standing With Israel

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Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a session at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos January 23, 2014. (Reuben Sprich/Reuters)

Shortly after the latest round of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s charm offensive—in the form of a speech Rouhani gave at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres cautioned the world not to be fooled by Iran.

“Rouhani is continuing with the Iranian show of deception,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “At a time when Rouhani condemns the killing of innocents, dozens of innocents were recently executed in Iran. At a time when Rouhani talks about a positive approach to technology, he prevents Iranians from freely surfing the Internet.

“At a time when Rouhani talks about peace with the countries of the Middle East, he refuses—even today—to recognize the existence of the State of Israel, and his regime daily calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. At a time when Rouhani claims that Iran is not interested in a nuclear project for military purposes, Iran continues to strengthen its centrifuges and heavy water reactor, and to arm itself with intercontinental missiles, the sole purpose of which is for nuclear weapons.

“Rouhani has admitted that a decade ago, he deceived the West in order to advance the Iranian nuclear program. He is doing this today as well.

“The goal of the Iranian ayatollahs’ regime, which is hiding behind Rouhani’s smiles, is to ease sanctions without conceding on their program to produce nuclear weapons. Therefore, the international community must not go astray after this deception, and it must prevent Iran from attaining the ability to produce nuclear weapons.”

At a press conference after Rouhani’s speech, Peres said, “The most significant remarks were the ones [Rouhani] didn’t make -- he didn’t express support for peace in the Middle East. He is the only leader I know who didn’t say clearly the time has come to make peace between Israel and the Arabs. He excluded the reference to peace and when he was asked if his vision included all countries he said it included only the ones that Iran will accept, that is some definition.

“He didn’t announce that in order to reduce the bloodshed in Syria he’s going to stop sending arms and money to Hezbollah to stop the killing, he could have announced that seeing as he doesn’t want a nuclear bomb that he will stop building long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, he didn’t announce that Iran will stop being the center of terror in our time.

“We can see [Iran’s] fingers in many terrible pies that endanger lives. As far as Israel is concerned we are ready to make peace with the Iranian people, historically they have never been our enemies. We extend our hand for peace, including to the Iranian people, but today was a great occasion that was missed.”

In his speech in Davos on Thursday morning, Rouhani called for normalization between Iran and the West, even after his foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, threw cold water on the interim nuclear deal that went into effect this week.

“I hereby announce that one of the theoretical and practical priorities of my government is constructive engagement with the world,” Rouhani said.

But when asked if Iran wanted good relations with the entire world, Rouhani replied, “with all countries we officially recognize,” apparently excluding Israel.

After departing the auditorium, Rouhani declined to answer questions from Israeli journalists. Later in the day, Rouhani’s guards rebuffed all attempts by Israeli journalists to get a response from the Iranian president to Netanyahu’s speech.

In a CNN interview on Thursday, Rouhani dismissed the possibility that Israel would strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.

“Israel knows very well what the response would be,” Rouhani said. “Israel knows well our regional capability. When it comes to practice, the Israelis cannot do that. If they do such a crazy thing, our response will make them rue the day.”

Also on Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Al Arabiya that if Iran attempts to continue to enrich uranium beyond permitted levels or break out toward a nuclear weapons capability “then the military option that is available to the United States is ready and prepared to do what it would have to do.”

For the original article, visit israelhayom.com.

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