Iranian President Hassan Rohani slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his "desperate efforts" to prevent rapprochement between Tehran and Washington, and said Netanyahu's "furious and bold words" can just please Iran.
"That an aggressive regime in the region names Iran with coarse language is the cause of our happiness," Rohani told reporters in Tehran on Wednesday, according to the Iranian news agency FARS. "Israel is upset to see that its sword has gone blunt and Iran grows more powerful day by day," he added.
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Regarding negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, Rohani added that Tehran is open to discussing "details" of its nuclear activities to reach out a deal with world powers, but its right to enrich uranium is not negotiable.
The US fears that uranium enrichment could be used in developing a nuclear weapons capacity. Rohani reiterated his country's pledge that it's not seeking nuclear weapons, and that it will keep its nuclear facilities open to international inspection.
"Iran's enrichment right is not negotiable but we must enter into talks to see what would the other side propose to us about the details," he said.
Rohani also discussed his New York trip, and boasted that he refused several requests by the Americans to meet with President Barack Obama during his visit to the UN General Assembly.
"Before my trip (to New York), the Americans had sent 5 messages to arrange a meeting between me and Obama, but I turned them down. Then they raised a plan for a brief meeting, but I didn’t agree (with it) much; we didn’t disagree with (the idea to have) a meeting, but its grounds weren’t prepared," said Rohani.
Earlier, Iran's chief of staff made similar comments, rejecting Israel's threat of military strikes as an act of "desperation" after Tehran's charm offensive to repair ties with the West.
"Today the choice of military option is rusted, old and blunt. It is put on a broken table that lacks stability," said Hassan Firouzabadi, quoted by Fars news agency.
"Such remarks stem out of desperation," he said, slamming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a "warmonger".
Netanyahu told a UN summit Tuesday that Israel was ready to act alone to halt Iranian efforts to build a nuclear bomb, a charge Tehran vehemently denies.
Iran's new president has vowed to engage the international community in constructive dialogue, ease tensions with the West and increase transparency on the Islamic state's nuclear activities.
Firouzabadi, a hardline military figure, appeared to back Rohani's diplomatic initiative, which has been well received in the West.
"Islamic Iran will be the winner in this case for its revolutionary stance of heroic flexibility," he said referring to remarks in mid-September by Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that such tactics were sometimes necessary in dealing with foes.
Firouzabadi said Netanyahu's remarks had only served to "increase the threat against the Zionists."
Ease of tensions
Meanwhile, Western governments are considering allowing Iran to continue some uranium enrichment, as part of a possible deal to resolve a decade-old dispute that Tehran says it wants to reach within six months, a senior EU diplomat said.
The new stance – a reaction to President Hassan Rohani's overtures to the West – would mean easing a long-standing demand that Iran suspend all enrichment, due to concerns Tehran could be developing nuclear weapons.
In an interview with Reuters, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius said: "I believe part of the game is that if the Iranians prove that whatever they are doing is peaceful, it will, as I understand, be possible for them to conduct it."
"It's conditional. It is not a done deal, but nevertheless it is a possibility to explore," he said. "Thanks to this rapprochement. How it will look, we don't know."
Lithuania holds the rotating presidency of the European Union until the end of this year, giving Linkevicius a closer insight into many internal policy debates.
Reuters contributed to this report
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