Netanyahu says Iran will be 'immortal' if it gets nuclear weapons

Oct. 4, 2013 at 2:19 PM
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TEL AVIV, Israel, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has cautioned that if Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons it will be "immortal, like North Korea."

Although new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani may claim authority to negotiate over the country's nuclear program, Netanyahu said he doesn't have the real power, BBC Persian reported Friday.

While Rouhani "represents a desire to change," the Israeli leader said, "I don't think he has the mandate to change the real decisions that are made by [Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei. Khamenei wants nuclear weapons for Iran."

If Iran were to get nuclear weapons, "this brutal regime will be immortal, like North Korea," Netanyahu added. "It will go on repressing the people of Iran, who deserve better."

The prime minister's comments were made in his first-ever interview with a Persian-language media service. The comments follow recent contacts between President Obama and Rouhani about Iran's nuclear program.

Netanyahu described Rouhani as a "wolf in sheep's clothing" in a speech earlier this week at the United Nations General Assembly.

Despite his feelings toward the Iranian leader, Netanyahu said he would accept a call from Rouhani, telling NPR "if I'm offered, I'll consider it," the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reported.

He stressed, however, that Israel would only be satisfied if Iran agreed to end its nuclear enrichment program.

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