In Direct Broadcast, Netanyahu Warns Iranian People of 'Horrible Nuclear War' if Iran Gets Atomic Weapons
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JERUSALEM, Israel – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Iranian people in a broadcast interview Thursday night that a “horrible nuclear war” will ensue if the regime in Tehran is allowed to acquire nuclear weapons.
It was the first time Netanyahu, speaking with Iran International’s Pouria Zeraati, has directly addressed the people of Iran in a broadcast, and it came just hours after the prime minister met with U.S Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
“If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, this will be a problem all of us will face. It will change the world,” he said the interview, which was translated into Farsi for Iranians.
Netanyahu suggested an Iranian government armed with nuclear weapons could create a kind of domino effect – what he described as “the criss-crossing of the Middle East with nuclear tripwires, as other regimes who understand the danger of a nuclear Iran will rush to arm themselves.”
When Zeraati asked what Netanyahu meant by statements he’s made that Iran is at the center of Israel’s foreign policy, he answered, “It’s not in the center of my foreign policy. It is the quintessential heart of my foreign policy.”
When pressed to elaborate on comments he made at a recent conference that “the only thing that can really prevent the Islamic Republic (of Iran) from obtaining a nuclear weapon is a credible military plan and action,” Netanyahu replied, “It’s exactly what it means. I don’t think it needs elaboration.”
The prime minister praised the courage of the Iranian people carrying out street demonstrations in the face of killings and imprisonment. When asked about the regime’s response to the protest movement, Netanyahu said, “Well, I think the regime is terrified.”
He added, “Because they know they’ve been the enemy of the Iranian people for so long. But now, the whole world knows that it (the protest movement) has unmasked the true nature of this regime for all the world to see, you know, they were trying to hide their true character.”
He praised "this incredibly courageous protest by women, men, youngesters, children, who are claiming their right to be free." He called it "a miraculous achievement," and said "it shows the strength of the human spirit that refuses to bow down before this tyranny and this oppression. And I can only say it arouses enormous admiration – my personal admiration, but I think the admiration of the entire world."
When asked what he tells other world leaders about Iran, Netanyahu responded, “I think it’s time to say to the Iranian regime, under, I would say, paraphrasing what our great prophet Moses said to the pharaohs of Egypt thousands of years ago. He said, ‘Let my people go.’ And I say to western leaders, let us stand together before the Iranian regime and tell them, ‘Let your people go.’”
As Iranians approach the Persian New Year, Netanyahu was asked to comment on the ancient roots shared by the two nations. He responded, “Well, I view this as part of a common history and shared values.” He continued, “When we speak of Cyrus (the Great), we speak of a great leader of a great civilization, and we remember him for enabling the return of our holy Temple in Jerusalem, for the return of the exiles in Babylon. All this is firmly embedded in our historical memory and in our consciousness.”
Zeraati asked the prime minister if he thought it was possible for Israel and Iran to unite sometime soon, Netanyahu replied, “If this regime no longer will rule Iran, there will be a freedom movement that succeeds, I think that the friendship between Israel and Iran will surpass anything that we can imagine. We were great friends before the Islamist takeover of Iran.”
When told that millions of people would be watching the interview, the prime minister was asked what message he had for the Iranian people. He said, I stand with you. But now, most of the world stands with you. You should know that. Don’t lose heart. Be strong.”
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