Swearing in of New President of Iran Mohammed Khatemi

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
August 4, 1997

The swearing in of President Mohammed Khatemi has given Iran an opportunity to open a new page in its relations with all of its neighbors and to prove that its new government is inclined towards peace and not confrontation.

Minister of Foreign Affairs David Levy said in the Knesset on May 28, 1997, following the election of Mohammed Khatemi as the President of Iran:

"Israel has never determined that Iran is our enemy. We would be very happy to see Iran joining the regional efforts to lessen tension, stop terrorism, and search for ways of cooperation and peace."

However, until now, only words of slander and hate have been heard from Teheran, encouraging the forces of terror to attack and kill Israeli citizens. In addition, Iran is arming itself with weapons of a level and type that place many countries in danger, even countries outside the Middle East, threatening to undermine the stability of the international system.

It is the right of the ancient Iranian people to choose the regime they desire; however, it is the right and duty of the countries neighboring Iran and of the entire international community to demand that the regime in Teheran abide by norms of accepted international behavior and good neighborly conduct.

Israel will follow with keen interest the behavior of the new government in Iran, and will judge it according to its words and its deeds.