Rouhani says Netanyahu threats over nuclear program are laughable

Iran's president-elect says Tehran's warnings of retaliation to an attack on its nuclear facilities has deterred Israel.

July 17, 2013 11:35
2 minute read.
Hassan Rouhani.

Hassan Rouhani lauging370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi)


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Iranian president-elect Hassan Rouhani has dismissed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's threats of a military strike on the Islamic Republic as laughable, the French news agency AFP reported on Wednesday, citing the Iranian media.

“When some (the United States and Israel) say that all options are on the table and when a miserable regional country (Israel) says such things, it makes you laugh,” AFP quoted Rouhani as saying in an address to Iran-Iraq war veterans.

He added that Iranian warnings of retaliation to an attack had deterred Israel from carrying out any such strike on the Islamic Republic.

“Who are the Zionists to threaten us?” AFP quoted him as saying.

Netanyahu on Sunday launched a rhetorical offensive against Iran, warning that he would take any necessary measures to defend Israel.

Asked when he would make a decision to attack on CBS News’s Face the Nation, Netanyahu responded: “I can tell you I won’t wait until it’s too late.”

Rouhani this week also reaffirmed the Islamic Republic's support of Syria and the Islamist Shi'ite militant group Hezbollah as he hailed their efforts in their plight against Israel, according to Iranian media.

In a response to a congratulatory message from Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, Rouhani on Tuesday lauded Hezbollah's activities in Lebanon and against Israel, according to Iran's Mehr news agency.

Following the Iranian presidential elections in June, Hezbollah welcomed the election of Rouhani, calling him a "beacon of hope."

"The Arab and Muslim people... who have always seen the Islamic republic as a supporter of the oppressed... and every fighter who resists for God, consider you today a beacon of hope," AFP quoted the militant group as saying.

In Nasrallah's original message, he congratulated Rouhani for winning the trust of the Iranian nation in a “political epic,” Iran's Press TV reported.

Rouhani, in response to a similar message from Syrian President Bashar Assad, also asserted that the relations between Tehran and Damascus demonstrated their determination to confront the common enemies of the two allies, especially Israel, semi-official Fars news agency on Tuesday cited the Iranian President-elect as saying. 

The incoming Iranian president also touched on the civil crisis faced by Syria reiterating the Islamic Republics' favor of the Damascus regime.

Rouhani said the opposition of the Syrian people strengthened Assad's forces and the Damascus government, stressing that the country could overcome its current conflict.

“The great and resistant Syrian nation will go past the present stage and fully preserve its independence and territorial integrity,” Fars quoted him as saying.

Iran is the main ally of the Syrian president, who is fighting mostly Sunni rebels in a civil war in which more the opposition say more than 100,000 people have been killed.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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