Iran's Top General: Netanyahu is a 'Warmonger'

Iranian chief of staff says that Netanyahu's threat of military action is nothing but an act of "desperation".

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Elad Benari,

PM Netanyahu at UN Assembly
PM Netanyahu at UN Assembly
Flash 90

Iran's top general on Wednesday rejected Israel's threat of military strikes as an act of "desperation", after Tehran's charm offensive to repair ties with the West, reports AFP.

"Today the choice of military option is rusted, old and blunt. It is put on a broken table that lacks stability," said armed forces chief-of-staff Hassan Firouzabadi, quoted by the Fars news agency.

"Such remarks stem out of desperation," he said, slamming Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as a "warmonger".

Netanyahu told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday that the Jewish state was ready to act alone to halt Iranian efforts to build a nuclear bomb, a charge Tehran vehemently denies.

"Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons. If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone," Netanyahu said in an attack on overtures made by Iran's President Hassan Rouhani.

Iran's new president has vowed to engage the international community in constructive dialogue, ease tensions with the West and increase transparency on the Islamic state's nuclear activities.

Firouzabadi, a hardline military figure, appeared to back Rouhani's diplomatic initiative, which has been well received in the West.

"Islamic Iran will be the winner in this case for its revolutionary stance of heroic flexibility," he said, referring to remarks in mid-September by Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that such tactics were sometimes necessary in dealing with foes.

Khamenei is the ultimate authority in the Islamic republic, and has final say on all key affairs, including foreign policy and the controversial nuclear program.

Firouzabadi said Netanyahu's remarks had only served to "increase the threat against the Zionists."

"Netanyahu has etched his name on the board of the United Nations as a warmonger," he added.

Netanyahu on Wednesday cautioned against Rouhani's charm offensive, which he described as a strategy carried out to woo the West at the behest of Khamenei.

"[The Iranian people] are governed not by Rouhani. They're governed by Ayatollah Khamenei. He heads a cult. That cult is wild in its ambitions and its aggression," Netanyahu told NBC News in an interview.

"He calls the shots, Khamenei. [Rouhani] tells him — he tells his boss, the dictator of Iran, 'I can get you the completion of the nuclear program by speaking nicely to the West. I can — what [former President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad tried to do with a frown, I'll do with a smile,'" he added.