Rouhani: Israel is Upset that We're Getting Close to the West
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Wednesday that Israel was "upset and angry" with signs of an emerging new relationship between his country and the West.
The comments came in response to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly. Netanyahu said that Israel was ready to act alone to halt Iran's alleged efforts to build a nuclear bomb.
"We don't expect anything else from the Zionist regime," Rouhani told reporters after a cabinet meeting, according to the AFP news agency.
Israel is "upset and angry because it sees that its blunted sword is being replaced with logic as the governing force in the world, and because the Iranian nation's message of peace is being heard better," he added.
Rouhani was referring to his outreach last week on a visit to the UN General Assembly in New York, where he offered constructive dialogue with the West in a bid to ease tensions.
In his UN speech, Rouhani said Iran would never seek a nuclear weapon and was ready to negotiate with world powers on ending a decade-long showdown over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
His charm offensive culminated in a landmark 15-minute phone call with U.S. President Barack Obama.
Netanyahu told the same UN forum that sanctions hurting Iran's economy must be strengthened as the Tehran regime was hell-bent on building a nuclear bomb.
"Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons. If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone," he said.
Responding to Netanyahu’s speech, an Iranian envoy declared that his country is ready to defend itself against any Israeli attack.
"The Israeli prime minister had better not even think about attacking Iran, let alone planning for that," Khodadad Seifi, a deputy ambassador at Iran's UN mission, said.