Benjamin Netanyahu: The Iranian people have expressed a deep desire for freedom

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The Independent Online

The following is a transcript of part of an interview that Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu gave to NBC's David Gregory on the channel's 'Meet the Press' programme on Sunday:

Gregory: The images from the streets of Tehran are disturbing. You have a violent crackdown under way in Iran. What does your intelligence in Israel tell you about the weakness, the nature of the Iranian regime today?

Netanyahu: Well, it's not my intelligence, but my common sense and the traditional sense. Obviously, you see a regime that represses its own people and spreads terror far and wide. It is a regime whose real nature has been unmasked, and it's been unmasked by incredible acts of courage by Iran's citizens. They go into the streets, they face bullets. And I tell you, as somebody who believes deeply in democracy, that you see the Iranian lack of democracy at work. And I think this best explains to the entire world what this regime is truly about.

Gregory: I asked about your intelligence services, as well, in terms of what hard information you have about what's going on inside the regime.

Netanyahu: I don't know if anyone really knows, and I cannot tell you how this thing will end up. I think something very deep, very fundamental is going on, and there's an expression of a deep desire amid the people of Iran for freedom, certainly for greater freedom. But perhaps the word is a simple one, freedom. This is what is going on. You don't need all the intelligence apparatus that modern states have to see something when it faces you right away. It's staring us in the face, there's no question about that.

Gregory: You know there's been quite a debate here in the United States and really around the world about what President Obama should do and should say at a moment like this. He has said, over the weekend, that these are unjust actions, that the whole world is watching, that Iran should not violently crack down on its people. Has he said and done enough, do you think?

Netanyahu: I'm not going to second-guess the President of the United States. I know President Obama wants the people of Iran to be free. He said as much in his seminal speech in Cairo before the Muslim world. I've spoken to him a number of times on this subject. There's no question we'd all like to see a different Iran with different policies.