Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on
Monday said that "Iran wants to destroy Israel and is developing nuclear weapons to that end."
Speaking at a Civil Service Commission ceremony, Netanyahu noted that "Iran is threatening Israel and the whole world," and urged the international community to "remain firm and not make any concessions."
The prime minister added that he has heard "many voices in recent weeks that cast doubt on Iran's intentions. They say that when Iran's leaders say they want to wipe Israel off the map, they actually mean something else in Persian.
"I wonder what they have to say about Iran's chief of staff, who declared yesterday that his country is committed to the full destruction of Israel. As simple as that."
'Iran is threatening Israel, the whole world,' Netanyahu (Photo: GPO)
Netanyahu reiterated his demand that Iran halts all uranium enrichment, saying that it is necessary to "remove enriched nuclear material from the country and dismantle the underground nuclear facilities near Qom.
"This is the only way to ensure that Iran does not acquire a nuclear bomb. This is Israel's position – it has not changed, and will not change," he said.
Netanyahu's comments come amid ongoing talks between the Islamic Republic and the six major powers, which are meant to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions. The sides are scheduled to meet for a second round of talks in Baghdad on Tuesday.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak also commented on talks with Iran, saying that Israel is "very skeptical about Iran's intentions.
"I predict that the Iranians will try to appear as if they are making progress, in order to reduce some of the international pressure," Barak noted.
Earlier on Monday, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano met
officials in Tehran, saying he held "frank" talks with Iranian officials over the country's nuclear program.