Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Wednesday that the situation with regard to Iran’s nuclear weapons program is “not getting any better” but is “actually getting worse.”
Speaking to a pro-Israel congressional delegation to Jerusalem led by United States Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Netanyahu said that newly elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani could not be trusted, despite the fact that he is perceived to be more receptive to negotiations over the country’s nuclear program than his predecessor.
“I know that some place their hopes on Iran’s new president. He knows how to exploit this, and yesterday he called for more talks. Of course he wants more talks. He wants to talk and talk and talk. And while everybody is busy talking to him, he’ll be busy enriching uranium,” Netanyahu said.
Rouhani, labeled a relative moderate by some commentators when compared to former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, insists that he is determined to resolve Iran’s confrontation with the West over its nuclear program. Netanyahu, however, has made it clear he does not believe that Rouhani, who assumed the position of president on Sunday after the eight-year tenure of Ahmadinejad concluded, is serious.
“[Rouhani] says, ‘I talk and I smile and I enrich uranium.’ This is unfortunately going on as we speak. Iran’s work and quest towards the achievement of atomic weapons not only continues, it continues unabated – it’s actually accelerated,” he told the delegation.
The United States has said it would be a “willing partner” if Iran was serious about finding a peaceful resolution to the issue.
Iran’s critics say that it has used previous nuclear negotiations as a delaying tactic while continuing to develop nuclear weapons-related technology. Netanyahu, perhaps the most vocal among them, agreed, telling the delegation, “Iran is determined to get the bomb and we must be even more determined to prevent them from getting it.”
Watch a video of the Prime Minister’s comments below.