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Netanyahu said Rouhani condemned the "violent scourge" of terrorism. "Yet in the last three years alone, Iran has ordered, planned or perpetrated terrorist attacks in 25 countries on five continents," he charged, without providing any evidence to back up the accusation.
Netanyahu said Rouhani launched a "charm offensive" because tough sanctions from the U.N., the U.S. and many others "have taken a big bite off the Iranian economy" and the regime is under intense pressure from the Iranian people to get the sanctions lifted.
Iran top diplomat calls Netanyahu a liar
Tehran, Iran » Iran’s foreign minister on Tuesday called the leader of Israel a liar who requires deception to promote his policies, saying Iran will not allow him to influence talks with world powers about Tehran’s disputed nuclear activities.
The remarks by Mohammad Javad Zarif in New York were broadcast on Iranian state TV hours before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was scheduled to speak to the United Nations General Assembly.
“This is his nature, to lie... Over the past 22 years, the regime, Israel, has been saying Iran will have nuclear arms in six months,” said Zarif. “The continuation of this game, in fact, is based on lying, deception, incitement and harassment.” He also called Netanyahu the “most isolated individual” in the U.N.
He also accused the Iranian president of masterminding his country’s strategy to advance the nuclear weapons program and said his goal was the same as his hard-line predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"Ahmadinejad was a wolf in wolf’s clothing. Rouhani is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a wolf who thinks he can pull the wool over the eyes of the international community," Netanyahu said.
He said all Iranian presidents serve the same "unforgiving regime" where the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is a dictator and the real power.
Netanyahu also accused Iran of lamenting the human tragedy in Syria, while at the same time directly participating in President Bashar Assad’s murder and massacre of tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children. He said Iran’s regime is propping up the Syrian regime that just used chemical weapons against its own people.
Netanyahu took apart Rouhani’s speech to the General Assembly last week, saying he wished he could believe the Iranian president’s words "but we must focus on Iran’s actions — and it’s the brazen contrast, this extraordinary contradiction between Rouhani’s words and Iran’s actions that is so startling."
Netanyahu said Iran has not crossed the "red line" that he set at last year’s General Assembly, but claimed Rouhani has done nothing to stop the country’s uranium enrichment program or its development of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) "whose sole purpose is to deliver nuclear warheads."
"And Iran is building now ICBMs that the United States says could reach this city (New York) in three or four years," Netanyahu said.
He said Rouhani denounced attempts to change the regional balance in the Middle East through proxies."Yet Iran is actively destabilizing Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain and many other Middle Eastern countries," Netanyahu said.
He cited an attempt by Iranian agents to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States in Washington two years ago, and the arrest of an Iranian agent three weeks ago trying to collect information "for possible attacks against the American Embassy in Tel Aviv."
Israel’s Shin Bet security agency says Iran recruited the Belgian-Iranian national Ali Mansouri last year and sent him to Israel to spy. He was arrested on Sept. 11 at Israel’s international airport.
A lawyer for Mansouri said the allegations are baseless.
Israel announced the arrest on Sunday as Netanyahu left for the U.S. for talks on Iran. Israeli media have speculated that the timing of the announcement was politically motivated.
"I wish I could believe Rouhani, but I don’t because facts are stubborn things," Netanyahu said, "and the facts are that Iran’s savage record flatly contradicts Rouhani’s soothing rhetoric."
Associated Press writers Peter James Spielmann and Marjorie Olster contributed to this report.
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