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Daily Israel Report

Rouhani: We'll Hold Referendum on US Relations

Iranian leader says "Israel sees its sword breaking… and this upsets it."
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 10/2/2013, 1:56 PM

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani
Reuters

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani announced Wednesday that he intends to hold a referendum among Iranians, to gauge the public's attitude on the thawing of relations with the US.

Speaking after his government's session, he appeared to be referring to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's speech in the UN Tuesday when he said that "Israel sees its sword breaking and Iran getting stronger from day to day, and this upsets it."

Regarding relations with the world powers, Rouhani said: "We need to take several steps in order to ease the sanctions that are weighing down on the public's shoulders, and we made the first step in this direction in the meeting with ministers from the powers. In addition, in our last visit to the UN we took the steps to prevent new sanctions on the region and we succeeded in this."

Maariv reported that Rouhani revealed that the US has been asking to meet him for some time.

"Before my visit, the Americans sent five telegrams asking for a meeting between Obama and myself, but I did not oblige them. Afterward they offered a short meeting, that I was not so interested in. Not because I oppose a meeting but because the ground was not ready for it."

"The atmosphere between Iran and the US is very dark," Rouhani explained, "and that is why the Iranian public needs to know that you cannot solve international problems that are 8 or 10 years old in ten days."

Following developments in New York, he said, Iran would present its offer in the Geneva talks with world powers.