Daily Israel Report

Israeli Leaders Dismiss Rouhani's Smooth-Talking at Davos

Iranian leader Hassan Rounahi talks a good game, President Shimon Peres said, but urged world leaders not to be fooled.
By David Lev
First Publish: 1/23/2014, 2:48 PM

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani
AFP photo

Iranian leader Hassan Rounahi talks a good game, President Shimon Peres said Thursday, but he urged leaders of the world attending the Economic Forum at Davos not to be fooled. Iran, said Peres, was the world's top supplier of terrorists, causing millions of death in Syria and elsewhere.

"The most significant remarks were the ones he didn't make - he didn't express support for peace in the Middle East," said Peres. "He is the only leader I know who didn't say clearly the time has come to make peace between Israel and the Arabs. He excluded the reference to peace and when he was asked if his vision included all countries he said it included only the ones that Iran will accept, that is some definition."

In addition, said Peres, "he didn't announce that in order to reduce the bloodshed in Syria he's going to stop sending arms and money to Hezbollah to the stop the killing, he could have announced that seeing as he doesn't want a nuclear bomb that he will stop building long range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads."

"He didn't announce that Iran will stop being the center of terror in our time," he continued. "We can see their fingers in many terrible pies that endanger lives.

"As far as Israel is concerned we are ready to make peace with the Iranian people, historically they have never been our enemies. We extend our hand for peace, including to the Iranian people, but today was a great occasion that was missed."

In a speech earlier, Rouhani said that he had no designs on his neighbors, and had no plans to develop nuclear weapons.

"I do not see any impediment to reaching an agreement” with the international community, he said. "I think that the initial agreement will lead to a full and final agreement, although one possible impediment is a lack of will from other parties [i.e. the USA], and it is also possible that they can be pressured to not come to an agreement."

Regarding Syria, he said, Iran was interested in a peaceful settlement and free elections, "later on," after the Assad regime succeeds in "pushing the terrorists out of Syria, because they will spread further."

In addition, he said, he believed that Iran and the U.S. could come to a “meeting of the minds,” and that Iran could play a positive role in the world economy. The groundwork to do this will be at the heart of my presidency,” he said, adding that “we will overcome all political obstacles on this road.”

In a statement, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that Iran is arming the Assad regime and directing Hezbollah to kill innocents in Syria. Rouhani speaks "about peace with countries in the Middle East," the Prime Minister said, but he doesn't mean it, as even during his address at the forum, he refused to address Israel by name.

"At a time when Rouhani talks about peace with the countries of the Middle East, he refuses – even today – to recognize the existence of the State of Israel, and his regime daily calls for the destruction of the State of Israel," Netanyahu said.

"At a time when Rouhani claims that Iran is not interested in a nuclear project for military purposes, Iran continues to strengthen its centrifuges and heavy water reactor, and to arm itself with intercontinental missiles, the sole purpose of which is for nuclear weapons," he added.