Mohammad Khazaee, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's UN speech inflammatory, rejected the notion that Iran was building a nuclear arsenal, and asserted its right to self-defense.
According to the New York Times, the Iranian ambassador said: “The Israeli Prime Minister better not even think about attacking Iran, let alone planning for that." He capped his remarks by saying that Iran’s “smile policy” was better than “lying.”
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Hours before Netanyahu spoke, Iranian diplomats sought to make a pre-emptive strike of their own, calling him a persistent liar and warning President Obama not to allow the Israelis to subvert the positive spirit cultivated by Iranian President Hassan Rohani in his visit to the United Nations.
Netanyahu at the UN
The remarks were delivered by Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, and his spokeswoman, Marzieh Afkham, in Iranian state news media. They followed by a day a visit by Netanyahu with Obama at the White House, where both presented a public display of unity regarding Iran’s disputed nuclear energy program.
“Over the past 22 years, the regime, Israel, has been saying Iran will have nuclear arms in six months,” Zarif said in an interview on state television. “The continuation of this game, in fact, is based on lying, deception, incitement and harassment.”
He added: “We have seen nothing from Netanyahu but lies and actions to deceive and scare, and international public opinion will not let these lies go unanswered.” Netanyahu, he said, “was the most isolated man at the UN.”
Earlier on his Twitter account, Zarif alluded to the Obama-Netanyahu meeting on Monday in a message that read: “President Obama needs consistency to promote mutual confidence. Flip-flop destroys trust and undermines US credibility.”
And Zarif’s spokeswoman, Afkham, was quoted by Iranian news agencies as saying, “The pressure coming from the Zionist regime is down to its isolation and its anger that the policy of the Iranian government has been well received.”
A top US official said that Iranian internal politics are behind the claim that Washington changed its policy regarding Iran's nuclear program.
According to him, the White House was not surprised by the allegations, after Obama said that military action against Iran is still on the table, should diplomacy fail.
"We understand that Iran has internal political pressures it must deal with before it opens another round of nuclear talks in Geneva," he said.
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