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Netanyahu says Rouhani's speech 'cynical'

Sept. 25, 2013 at 7:53 AM   |   Comments

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JERUSALEM, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's speech at the U.N. General Assembly "cynical" and "full of hypocrisy."

"As expected this was a cynical speech that was full of hypocrisy," Netanyahu said in statements released by his office Wednesday. "Rouhani spoke of human rights even as Iranian forces are participating in the large-scale slaughter of innocent civilians in Syria," Netanyahu said. "Rouhani condemned terrorism even as the Iranian regime is using terrorism in dozens of countries around the world."

While the new Iranian president spoke of a nuclear program for civilian purposes the International Atomic Energy Agency issued a report that determines Iran's nuclear program has military dimensions, Netanyahu said.

"... any rational person understands that Iran, one of the most oil-rich nations, is not investing capital in ballistic missiles and underground nuclear facilities in order to produce electricity," he said.

Netanyahu said the Iranian leader's speech "... lacked both any practical proposal to stop Iran's military nuclear program and any commitment to fulfill U.N. Security Council decisions. This is exactly Iran's strategy -- to talk and play for time in order to advance its ability to achieve nuclear weapons. Rouhani knows this well."

In the release, Netanyahu also defended his decision to order Israeli U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz to boycott the Iranian president's speech.

"I could not allow the Israeli delegation to be part of a cynical public relations ploy by a regime that denies the Holocaust and calls for our destruction," he said.

On Sunday, just days before Rouhani's trip to New York, he attended a military parade in Tehran where signs posted on a convoy of trucks carrying long-range rockets and missiles, called for Israel's destruction.

The signs written in Persian said, "Israel must stop existing," Haaretz said.

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