Benjamin Netanyahu - AP - 1.5.2011
Benjamin Netanyahu attending the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Sunday, May 1, 2011. Photo by AP
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Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei poses the greatest worldwide threat after the death of Osama bin Laden, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with CNN on Thursday.

Claiming that Khamenei posed an even greater threat than Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Netanyahu told CNN that the Supreme Leader "runs the country and he is infused with fanaticism."

"If the Iranian regime gets atomic bombs, it will change history," the premier said, adding that the "future of the world -- the future of the Middle East -- is certainly at stake."

Netanyahu also urged increased international sanctions on the Iranian regime over its suspected nuclear ambitions, saying that those sanctions might work if the international community makes it clear that there is a credible military option if sanctions don't work."

Speaking of recent unrest sweeping across the Middle East, the premier warned the Arab revolutions could be "hijacked" by extremists, saying that while Israel "would like to see the triumph of democracy... that's something that will guarantee the peace," the specter of Islamic extremism loomed large.

"The biggest threat is the possibility that a militant Islamic regime will acquire nuclear weapons -- or that nuclear weapons could acquire a militant Islamic regime," the PM said.

The premier's comments came a day after he told British Prime Minister David Cameron that Israel would not negotiate with a "Palestinian version of Al-Qaida," referring to the newly signed Hamas-Fatah unity pact.
"Declaring statehood in September is a dictate -- and you don’t achieve peace through dictates. It’s a very bad idea,” Netanyahu told Cameron during their talks in London.

Netanyahu's two day Europe trip –planned before the reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah was announced – was initially intended as part of ongoing efforts to thwart the expected European recognition of a unilaterally declared Palestinian state in September.