Israeli Leader Excoriates New President of Iran

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from The New York Times,

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel sought to shred the credibility of Iran’s new president on Tuesday, using his annual speech at the United Nations to cast the Iranian as a man who could not be trusted and to press the international community to keep up sanctions to prevent Iran from building a nuclear bomb.

Clearly concerned that the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, had succeeded in portraying himself as a friendly and pragmatic leader during his visit to New York last week, Mr. Netanyahu focused the majority of his 33-minute address on Mr. Rouhani, all but ignoring the Palestinian issue. He described Mr. Rouhani as a beguiling figure who used reassuring words to mask malevolent intentions.

Only “tough sanctions and credible military threats,” Mr. Netanyahu said, will compel Mr. Rouhani to negotiate, though in an apparent nod to emerging diplomatic efforts, he sought to prescribe precise conditions for a deal, including that Iran stop enriching uranium.

Iran has repeatedly said uranium enrichment is its legal right and that the country’s nuclear ambitions are peaceful.

“I wish I could believe Rouhani, but I don’t,” Mr. Netanyahu told the General Assembly, where Iran’s seats were vacant in apparent response to Israel’s boycott of Mr. Rouhani’s speech a week earlier. “Because facts are stubborn things and the facts are that Iran’s savage record flatly contradicts Rouhani’s soothing rhetoric.”

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