'A wolf in sheep's clothing': Don’t be fooled - Iran still wants nuclear bomb, says Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister tells UN General Assembly not  to be deceived by President Rouhani’s moderate tone

Jerusalem

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged the international community not to be deceived by the moderate tone of the new Iranian President Hasan Rouhani, calling him a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, as intent as his bellicose predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on developing a nuclear bomb.

In an address to the UN General Assembly that was largely aimed at undoing the gains in international opinion Mr Rouhani made last week with his own UN speech, which was followed by a phone call with US President Barack Obama, Mr Netanyahu called for keeping up and perhaps intensifying sanctions against Iran and likened the Iranian regime and what he believes are its nuclear aspirations to the Nazi regime’s threat to Europe in the 1930s.

He said that Israel would act alone militarily to stop an Iranian bomb if necessary and insisted that Iran not be allowed to keep any enriched uranium in any diplomatic deal.

“When it comes to nuclear weapons the only difference between the two is that Ahmadinejad is a wolf in wolf’s clothing, while Rouhani is a wolf in sheep’s clothing who thinks he can pull the wool over the eyes of the international community,” he said.

The Israeli leader seemed impatient with those anxious to explore if Mr Rouhani’s tenure ushers in a new period of hope, as the Iranian president himself took pains to signal.

“I wish I could believe Rouhani but I don’t because facts are stubborn things. Iran’s savage record flatly contradicts Rouhani’s soothing rhetoric.“

He said during Mr Rouhani’s tenure as Iranian national security adviser, Iran had perpetrated terrorist acts including the bombing of a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires.

“Are we to believe Rouhani did not know of these attacks. Of course he did,” the Israeli Prime Minister said.

Mr Netanyahu said Mr Rouhani believes he can get sanctions lifted while still advancing towards a bomb by ”smiling a lot, paying lip service to peace, democracy and tolerance“, offering “meaningless concessions” and “ensuring Iran maintains sufficient nuclear material and infrastructure to race to the bomb at a time of its choosing”.

Mr Netanyahu said those doubting his warning had failed to learn the lessons from the appeasement of the Nazi regime in the 1930s.

“The last century taught us that when a radical regime with global ambitions gets awesome power its appetite for aggression knows no bounds. The world may have forgotten this lesson. The Jewish people have not.“

He said any diplomatic solution would require Iran to cease all uranium enrichment, remove from Iran all stockpiles of enriched uranium, dismantle the infrastructure for nuclear breakout capability and stop all work at a heavy water facility aimed at production of plutonium.

“The international community has Iran on the ropes. If it wants to knock out Iran’s programme peacefully don’t let up the pressure, keep it up.”

Mr Rouhani told the General Assembly last week that “nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction have no place in Iran’s security and defence doctrine and contradict our fundamental religious and ethical convictions“.

Netanyahu has described Rouhani, above, as 'a wolf in sheep’s clothing' (Getty) Netanyahu has described Rouhani, above, as 'a wolf in sheep’s clothing' (Getty)  

He offered immediate negotiations to remove “reasonable concerns” about Iran’s nuclear programme, saying that in return Iran wanted recognition by the international community of its right to enrich uranium.

In an interview with CNN, he appeared to distance himself from Mr Ahmadinejad’s pattern of Holocaust denial, saying about the Nazis: “Whatever criminality they committed against the Jews we condemn,” while adding, however, that it was up to historians to determine the scale of what happened.

Mr Obama said the US is ready to test Mr Rouhani’s overtures but would insist on “the highest level of verification” of Iran curbing its nuclear programme before providing what he termed “sanctions relief”.

Even as Mr Netanyahu called for a “credible military threat” to pressure Iran, Mr Obama made clear the US is open to using military force if diplomacy fails.

In remarks to Iranian television before Mr Netanyahu’s speech, Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif accused Mr Netanyahu of lying to the world about Iran.

“We have seen nothing from Netanyahu but lies and actions to deceive and scare and international public opinion will not let these lies go unanswered. For 22 years the Zionist regime has been lying by repeating endlessly that Iran will have the bomb in six months. After all these years the world must understand the reality of these lies and not allow them to be repeated.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
(L-R) Amanda Peet as Tina Morris, Melanie Lynskey as Michelle Pierson, Abby Ryder Fortson as Sophie Pierson, Mark Duplass as Brett Pierson and Steve Zissis as Alex Pappas in Togetherness
TV First US networks like HBO shook up drama - now it's comedy's turn
News
i100
Travel
Pool with a view: the mMarina Bay Sands in Singapore
travel From Haiti and Alaska to Namibia and Iceland
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect