Rohani: Israel is upset its sword is going blunt while Iran grows stronger
Iranian president responds to the PM's UNGA address, boasts of turning down five U.S. attempts to arrange a meeting with Obama.
Iranian President Hassan Rohani on Wednesday reportedly lambasted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his UN General Assembly speech, during which he warned that Israel is prepared to unilaterally attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Rohani said that Netanyahu's "coarse language" was an indication that Israel was rattled by the Islamic Republic's might, Iran's semiofficial Fars News Agency reported.
"Israel is upset to see that its sword has gone blunt and Iran grows more powerful day by day," Rohani was quoted as saying in a press conference after a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday.
According to the report, Rohani also elaborated on the achievements of his recent visit to New York, where had addressed the UN General Assembly, met with various world leaders and spoke with U.S. President Barack Obama on the phone.
"During the recent visit to the UN, we strove to prevent a new war in the region and we came to be successful in the trip," FNA quoted Rohani as saying.
He further claimed that he had turned down five attempts by U.S. officials to arrange a meeting between him and Obama: "The grounds weren't prepared," he was quoted as saying.
The phone conversation that took place between Obama and Rohani on Friday marked the highest-level contact between the two countries since the Iranian Revolution in 1979 – a sign that both sides are serious about reaching a pact on Iran's nuclear program.
But Rohani warned that it was too early to declare peace, saying that the ties between Iran and the U.S. are characterized by a "very dark atmosphere," adding that a decades-long crisis cannot be solved in a few days, FNA reported.
In his speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Netanyahu dismissed a "charm offensive" by Iran's new president as a ruse concocted by a "wolf in sheep's clothing," and declared that Israel was ready to stand alone to deny Tehran an atomic weapon.
"Israel will never acquiesce to nuclear arms in the hands of a rogue regime that repeatedly promises to wipe us off the map. Against such a threat, Israel will have no choice but to defend itself," he said. "I want there to be no confusion on this point. Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons. If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone," Netanyahu said.
The chief of staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, General Hassan Firouzabadi, joined Rohani's condemnation of the prime minister on Wednesday, calling him a "warmonger," FNA reported.
"Netanyahu has marked his name as a warmonger on the UN walls, and gained nothing but enhancing the Zionists' threats through these comments," Firouzabadi was quoted by FNA as saying.
Furthermore, he reportedly described Netanyahu's comments as desperate and questioned the viability of Israel's military threat.