Iran's Rohani Says Israeli 'Occupier' Elections Are Meaningless

Rohani also described the recent American decision to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a 'foreign terrorist organization' as a calculated boost to Netanyahu

Iranian President Hassan Rohani at Iran's National Nuclear Day in Tehran, Iran, April 9, 2019
\ HANDOUT/ REUTERS

Iranian President Hassan Rohani on Wednesday called the Israeli election "meaningless," adding that if one was to hold real elections in the area, Palestinians, not the occupiers, should be the ones going to the polls.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has all but secured a 5th term on Wednesday morning, after more than 95 percent of the votes gave the right-wing bloc a 10-seat lead over the left.

Rohani also described the recent American decision to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a "foreign terrorist organization" as a calculated boost to Netanyahu ahead of the elections. "The leader of the Zionist regime made it clear that this step was taken at his request," he said.

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Also reacting to Netanyahu's victory in the polls, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu urged  Israel to abandon strong "rhetoric and populism" now that the elections are over.

Cavusoglu's comments were in an apparent reference to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent pledge to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank if he wins the election.

The minister told Turkey's NTV news channel on Wednesday that Israel "must put aside the populism and the rhetoric, it must abandon its aggressive stance."

Cavusoglu also called on the United States to be an "honest broker" in the Mideast dispute, saying a U.S. peace plan for the region must be fair and objective toward Palestinians.

As final results take shape, Netanyahu started receiving messages of congratulations from around the world. 

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz congratulated Netanyahu on Twitter for "an excellent showing in yesterday's national elections … You have – once again – gained the trust of the people of Israel in record numbers. I am looking forward to working with you in the future, for the benefit of the people of Israel and the people of Austria."

Likewise, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted a message of congratulations to Netanyahu. "My dear friend Bibi, Congratulations! You are a great friend of India, and I look forward to continuing to work with you to take our bilateral partnership to new heights," he wrote.

Italy's deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini also commended Netanyahu,  tweeting "Good luck to my friend Netanyahu, and a hug to the people of Israel."

Ahmed Majdalani, an aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said the outcome of Israel's election raises Palestinian fears about an Israeli annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank.

Majdalani said Palestinians will seek the help of the international community to try to block any annexation plans, and called the outcome of a boost for the "extreme right-wing camp" in Israeli politics.