The real nature of the Iranian regime has been unmasked by incredible acts of courage by Iran citizens
President Peres at meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai (23 June 2009):
"Events in Iran have opened a window of opportunity in the Middle East, alongside many questions – for better and for worse. It is rare today to see people sacrificing their lives in the name of freedom, human rights, women’s rights, and this impacts on the entire region."
PM Netanyahu interview with Bild (22 June 2009):
"The true nature of the Iranian regime has been unmasked. You can actually see the lack of Iranian democracy at work. This is a regime that represses its own people, supports terrorism worldwide and openly denies the Holocaust, while calling for the elimination of Israel. This regime is not only a great threat to our existence, but also to moderate Arab countries, the safety of Europe and to the peace in the world…
What we have seen in Iran is a powerful desire on the part of the Iranian people to be free. Iranian elections are not like elections in Europe or Israel. First of all, the regime vets candidates. They eliminate those who are unacceptable to them in advance. This is a theocratic, totalitarian and brutal state that doesn’t really give free choice to the Iranian people…
What would be good news for Israel is a regime that stops crushing dissent, stops supporting terror and stops trying to build nuclear weapons. It would mean a regime that stops denying the Holocaust and stops threatening Israel with destruction. There is no conflict between the Iranian people and the people of Israel and under a different regime the friendly relations that prevailed in the past could be restored…
We have to come to grips with the fact that this bellicose regime is seeking to develop nuclear weapons which will threaten the peace in the Middle East and also in the entire world. Iran sponsors terrorism and it could very well give a nuclear umbrella to terrorism and possibly provide nuclear weapons to terrorists. It could act in ways that nuclear powers have not done so up to now. This is a very great danger… It’s crucial for the Iranian regime to recognise that there is a growing understanding in the international community that what they are doing is unacceptable, and that there is an international front developing that is committed to prevent the Iranian regime from acquiring nuclear weapons.
PM Netanyahu interview with RAI TV, Italy (22 June 2009):
I think that anybody who supports freedom and supports human rights supports the effort of the people of Iran to regain their freedom. I am not happy seeing demonstrators shot, young girls murdered in front of our eyes, but I think that what we see, what is staring us in our face, is the true nature of this regime.
I think that people now can understand many of the things that we have been talking about all these years. This is a regime that oppresses its people and this is a regime that threatens everyone with the denial of the Holocaust, the call for the elimination of Israel, with the sponsorship of terrorism throughout the world and with the attempt to develop nuclear weapons, which they can give to terrorists around the world. I think now that the true nature of this regime has been unmasked.
I think right now everybody understands that nuclear weapons in the hands of such a brutal regime could be very dangerous to the entire world. This is an international issue and I was very pleased to hear President Obama in my recent visit to Washington say that nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran is a strategic threat to the United States and to the peace of the world. Certainly it is to my country, but it is an international danger and it should be dealt with by an international effort led by the United States. That’s our preference…
In Gaza you have a proxy regime of Iran. This regime in Iran – which is first of all oppressing the people in Gaza. They are not given a choice, they are given about the same choice as the people in Iran are. There you have this violent band of gunmen, the Hamas, which receives all its weapons from this regime of Iran… So the misery in Gaza is the direct result of this Iranian terrorist proxy, Hamas. What we try to do is to make life easier for the population out of the humanitarian concern and at the same time try to prevent Hamas from getting money and weapons it could use to fire more rockets on us. We are trying to find a balance to help the population but not help this terrorist regime that unfortunately governs them.
I think what is happening in Iran is a fact of monumental and historical importance. I don’t know how it will end but I think that it is a deep expression of a desire for change, for freedom. I don’t think people are merely protesting, "We don’t want this or that particular president." By the way, it is very clear now who calls the shots. They want a change, which will allow them to walk the streets, to have empowerment of women, to have youngsters being able to make choices in their lives. I think that anybody who believes in democracy, as I do, understands that this is a remarkable example of civil courage. I don’t believe that this kind of thirst for freedom can be suppressed for very long. It may be suppressed further, but I think that two things are evident. One, the true nature of this repressive regime has been exposed and, two, there is in the Middle East something I haven’t seen in my life time, and that is an awareness by everyone, not just Israel, but many of the Arab governments and I think many in the Arab public, including Palestinians, that we have a common challenge. We don’t want to be overrun by this theocratic barbarism. We want a free life and we want a good life and we want a peaceful life.
What has been preventing the peace? Iran with Hizbullah, Iran with Hamas, Iran that succeeds in dominating and intimidating moderates everywhere, including in the Palestinian camp. We are in the fork on the road, if Iran acquires nuclear weapons than their ability to intimidate, to give these weapons to terrorists, to give terrorists a nuclear umbrella, this would push peace further back, dark in the horizon. But if there will be a change in Iran, this would work in the other direction, and would give peace a tremendous opening, peace between Israel and the Palestinians, peace between Israel and Arab states that share our concerns. I think that this is as much a challenge as it is an opportunity. It is as much an opportunity as it is a challenge. I am very hopeful that we can meet the challenge and exploit the opportunity for peace.
Interview with PM Netanyahu on NBC’s Meet the Press (21 June 2009):
The Iranian regime is a regime that represses its own people and spreads terror far and wide. It is a regime whose real nature has been unmasked, and it’s been unmasked by incredible acts of courage by Iran citizens. They go into the streets, they face bullets and, I tell you, as somebody who believes deeply in democracy, that you see the Iranian lack of democracy at work, and I think this better explains and best explains to the entire world what this regime is truly about.
I think something very deep, very fundamental, is going on, and there is an expression of a deep desire amid the people of Iran for freedom – certainly for greater freedom, but perhaps the word is a simple one – freedom. This is what is going on. You don’t need all the intelligence apparatus that modern states have to see something when it faces you right away. It’s staring us in the face, there is no question about that.
There is no question we would all like to see a different Iran with different policies. Remember, this is a regime that not only represses its own people. Andrei Sakharov, the great Russian scientist and humanist, said that a regime that oppresses its own people sooner or later will oppress its neighbors and, certainly, Iran has been doing that. It’s been calling for the denial of the Holocaust. It’s threatening to wipe Israel off the map; it’s pursuing nuclear weapons to that effect; it’s sponsoring terror against us but throughout the world. So I think what everybody would like to see is a change of policy, is about outside and inside…
I don’t subscribe to the view that Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons is a status symbol. It’s not. These are people who are sending thousands and thousands of missiles to their terrorist proxies, Hizbullah and Hamas, with the specific instruction to bomb civilians in Israel. They are supporting terrorists in the world. This is not a status symbol.
To have such a regime acquire nuclear weapons is to risk the fact that they might give it to terrorists or give terrorists a nuclear umbrella – that is a departure in the security of the Middle East and the world, certainly the security of my country. So I wouldn’t treat the subject so lightly. Would a regime change be a game-changer? A policy change would be a game-changer.
I think it’s too early to say what will transpire, both in Iran and on the international scene. As I said, I think something fundamental is taking place here.
But I did speak to President Obama about the question of engagement before this happened, and he made it clear that engagement is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end, and the end has to be to prevent this regime from developing nuclear weapons capability. And he said he’d leave all options on the table, and I’d say if it was right before these demonstrations, well, it’s doubly right now.
Israel shares with the United States and with many, many countries – I think we share it with just about all the governments in the Middle East. I’ve talked to many of the leading European heads of governments and many others – we all don’t want to see this regime acquire nuclear weapons. This regime that supports terrorists and calls for the annihilation of Israel and for the domination of the Middle East and beyond – I think this would be something that would endanger the peace of the world, not just my own country’s security and the stability of the Middle East. It would spawn, for one thing, a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Everybody understands that. So the Middle East could become a nuclear tinderbox, and that is something that is a very, very grave development.
I think stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons capability is not merely an interest of Israel. As I think the current events now demonstrate this is something of deep interest for all people who want peace and seek peace throughout the world…
The president spoke to me quite explicitly about the great threat that Iran’s development of nuclear weapons capability poses to the United States. I saw, in fact, the continuity, in that sense, of an assessment of the threat. But, of course, as you say, the clock is ticking. The Iranian nuclear program is advancing.
And so the problem that now faces the entire world is to ask themselves a simple question – can we allow this brutal regime that sees no inhibitions in how it treats its own citizens and its purported enemies abroad – can we allow such a regime to acquire nuclear weapons? And the answer that we hear from far and wide is no.
Q: If the international community proves unable to stop Iran, is it your view that Israel will have to?
NETANYAHU: It is my view that there is an American commitment to make sure that that doesn’t happen, and I think I’d leave it at that. Israel always reserves the right to defend itself.
FM Avigdor Liberman at joint press conference with US Secretary of State Clinton (17 June 2009):
We support evolution, not a revolution, and we never interfered in any internal affairs of the different countries. What is important for us, is not the personal creation, but the creation of policy. What we saw during these elections, there was only one point on which all candidates were united: it’s achieving "nuclear capability"; and maybe the other point, the hatred to Israel. This is what is important, is real – not the domestic problems of Iran, but their policy. And we hope that they will change their policy.
PM Benjamin Netanyahu interview on the Today Show, NBC (15 June 2009):
Iranian democracy is a peculiar exercise, as you can see. What’s disappointing is that Iran has been a repressive regime, repressive to its own peoples and threatening its neighbors abroad. It’s a terrorist regime that is building nuclear weapons with the express purpose of wiping Israel off the map, as well as intimidating and dominating the other governments and areas in the Middle East and beyond the Middle East. I think it’s very disquieting what we see in Iran.
I think the most important thing is for the international community to recognize that an Iran with nuclear weapons would threaten the entire world. Certainly it would threaten Israel, but I think it would threaten the Middle East. It would threaten the United States and American interests, in a very, very wide radius.
They’re building ballistic missiles that reach deep into Europe and soon could reach beyond Europe. And, of course, they could give these weapons to the terrorist groups that they harbor and inspire and control. I think this is dangerous for all of mankind, and I think that all of humanity has to join together, the main forces of civilization, to prevent this from happening.
It’s not just an Israeli issue. It is, first and foremost, an issue for our security. But it’s an issue for the security of the entire world. And I hope the United States leads a successful effort, with the right kind of pressures, to make Iran cease and desist from acquiring those nuclear weapons.
PM Benjamin Netanyahu interview with CBS News correspondent Jeff Glor (15 June 2009):
Q: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been reelected by a wide majority that has been endorsed now by the Supreme Leader. It has resulted in a great deal of unrest. What do you make of that unrest?
PM NETANYAHU: It unmasks the fundamental nature of the Iranian regime. It’s not a democracy. In democracies, you don’t have violence in the wake of elections. You have a resolution. Governments are either reelected or changed.
But in Iran, it’s a repressive regime. It’s a repressive regime that represses its own people and that threatens everybody in sight. And I think what this election and the way it’s been conducted shows is what the true nature of this regime. You don’t want this kind of a regime, this kind of government developing nuclear weapons because they might give it to terrorists and they might use it in a very aggressive way against everybody in sight.
Q: Was the election a fraud?
PM NETANYAHU: You know, was the election a true election in Iran? How can you say? It’ss a totalitarian state that perhaps has elections on occasion. But we know the true nature of the Iranian regime. I think now the whole world knows that, too.
Q: Finally, sir. I want to ask you about Iran’s nuclear ambitions. At what point would you, as Prime Minister of Israel, be willing to use military force to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions?
PM NETANYAHU: I think this is an issue not only for us, it’s an issue for the world. You do not want this regime developing nuclear weapons, giving nuclear weapons to terrorists. This is a threat to everyone: to Israel, to the moderate Arab regimes in our region, to Europe, to the United States. In my opinion, to many other powers in the world as well.
And I think people are coming around to understanding how grave a danger that is. And President Obama has said that he would leave all options on the table to ensure that Iran does not cross that line. And I think that’s the right policy at this point.
Q: You say Iran’s nuclear ambitions are a threat to the world. Does a worldwide solution or a worldwide coalition, does that become less possible or more possible now that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been reelected in Iran?
PM NETANYAHU: I think it’s not merely the result of the elections. It’s the fact that Iran is violating every understanding and every provision and is calling denying the Holocaust on the one hand and calling openly for the elimination of Israel and supporting terrorists far and wide. I think it’s important to put the necessary pressures on Iran and, if necessary, apply sanctions and, as President Obama said, keep all options open to make it clear to the Iranians that they can’t continue this way.
Address by Strategic Affairs Minister Ya’alon at Washington Institute for Near East Policy (9 June 2009):
There are two problems with the way the media frames the Iranian issue.
The first one is the notion that the Iranian problem is first and foremost a conflict between Iran and Israel. The second troubling manner in which the media frames the Iran issue is the recurring suggestion in the media that a combination of a sincere dialogue and non-military sanctions will peacefully persuade the Iranians to change their policy and give up the military nuclear program. Unlike the previous example, which has some relationship to reality, this mistaken assumption is based primarily on wishful thinking…
Many key Iranian players, in particular the Mullahs, consider the destruction of Israel as just a step on the way to changing the entire world order. The Iranians want to bring about this change, and they have many allies who, though they may not share Iran’s Shiite goals, nonetheless share its desire to bring down American-led global liberalization. Syria and Chavez are of course key active partners in this. The goal of such an alliance is not just the conquest of Israel, but the entire Western world as well.
To appreciate the fallacy of this notion of Iranian “rationality,” it is crucial to understand that the Iranian leadership, just like all the other radicals, is not interested in contributing to stability. On the contrary, they are interested in turbulence and instability – as long as it doesn’t threaten their survival and their ability to stay in power – because stability would shore up the very world order they want to replace. Furthermore, the Iranians view the West’s reluctance to use force against them as a lack of will and proof that Iran is moving in the right direction…
There are so many examples of this mindset in the rhetoric of the Iranian leadership that it is quite amazing to consider that none of this gets reported to the Western public in the mainstream media and, more troubling, that the media doesn’t even stop to reevaluate their positions…
Iran is the main reason for instability in the region. The combination of the strengthening of the radicals and progress on the Iranian nuclear project, both of which are emboldened by the media’s selective coverage of these issues, are the main threat to Israeli and American security and other interests. As long as the radicals feel that they are marching towards victory we can not afford to show signs of weakness. They will only make our job harder.
– Full speech
FM Liberman interview on Israel’s Channel 9 TV (5 June 2009):
Q: You just mentioned Iran. Tell me please, how much faith do you place in the assurances of your Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that Iran will only use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes? It is clear that today the Kremlin is run by intelligent people. They certainly understand that today’s civilian nuclear program in Iran can become tomorrow’s military nuclear program. Don’t they understand that this is a threat not only to Israel, but to all mankind, including Russia?
FM Liberman: I think that the whole world should reconsider its perception of nuclear weapons and certain countries’ desire to acquire nuclear weapons. We had the recent example of North Korea. With no connection whatsoever to Israel, I observed the kind of reaction this caused in Japan (the second largest economy in the world after the USA) and in South Korea (also a very powerful state). And today, the new perpetrator is Iran. We see what is happening in Pakistan, which already possesses nuclear weapons – how unstable it is. Thus, this is not an Israeli problem, but one facing the entire world.
Just the day before yesterday, the French President hosted Mr. Mutaki, Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. Of course, we cannot force our will on others. We try explaining our position; we try to convince our partners to change their position or to understand us, to see things from our point of view. This applies to the USA as well.
Qh: Nonetheless, Russia is helping equip Iran, if not with weapons, at least with so-called peaceful nuclear energy capacity.
FM Liberman: Yesterday I watched the speech made by the President of the USA. He too, unfortunately, recognized Iran’s right to develop a civilian nuclear program. Hence, from my point of view, this attempt by various powers, including France and Germany, to create an artificial differentiation between civilian and military nuclear energy. All these countries agree that we must differentiate between civilian and military nuclear energy. The distance between the two is extremely short. Such a proposition is completely unacceptable to us.
Joint press conference with FM Liberman and Belarus FM Martynov (4 June 2009):
We believe that any attempt to rewrite history is completely unacceptable, especially when it comes to the history of World War II, including, of course, a complete denial of the Holocaust. We are unable to tolerate the fact that the head of a sovereign state, which is a member of the United Nations, organizes an annual conference in Tehran specifically on Holocaust denial. Regarding the speech he delivered in Bern, Switzerland, once again, his words conveyed Holocaust denial and Iran’s threats to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Therefore, we are trying to make people understand that this approach does not benefit the international community in any way.
Unfortunately, most European countries maintain diplomatic relations with Iran. I do not want to hide that a meeting between the President of France and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iran, for example, is extremely unpleasant for us. It seems to me that people should realize that in today’s globalized world it is impossible to treat this problem with a great degree of tolerance.
Iran is a definite threat to the stability of the Middle East. All terrorists and militants operating in our region were trained in Iran, using Iranian weapons, and funded by Iranian money. We consistently explain our point of view on this topic in all countries and at all levels.
Press conference by FM Avigdor Liberman at TASS-ITAR, Moscow (3 June 2009):
Unfortunately, we witness continued confrontation in the Arab world between the radicals and the more moderate factions. As I previously mentioned, it is not Israel, but Hizbullah that threatens Siniora today in Lebanon. Who endangers the government of Abu Mazen? As I have already stated, it is Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Who tried to organize a conspiracy against Mubarak in Egypt? Iran and Hizbullah. Who causes instability here? Not Israel, but the "Muslim brothers."
Israel does not threaten the integrity of any Arab state, whether it be Saudi Arabia or the Emirates. On the other hand it is Iran that threatens the integrity of these states. I think that there are no differences of opinion between Israel and the Arab countries on this point…
The Iranian nuclear issue is obviously not exclusively an Israeli problem. This is a problem for the entire Middle East. The Arab countries are especially concerned about Iran’s nuclear program. Yesterday during a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I noticed that all the questions from the representatives of the Saudi press focused on the Iranian issue. They did not ask any questions on the Palestinian issue or on regional-specific themes. I think that those who are most concerned by Iran’s nuclear program, are the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and the other Arab counties.
In general, Iran contributes to instability in the Middle East, and this has nothing to do with Israel. We see that it is extremely active in Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, so this is not just an Israeli problem. I am happy that Saudi journalists keep asking me when we will bomb Iran. We are not going to bomb Iran, and will not solve anyone’s problems for them. We have no need for this. Israel is a strong country and we can protect ourselves. Nevertheless, the international community must understand that Iran’s entry into the "nuclear club" will cause a whole new arms race, a crazy arms race involving non-conventional weapons throughout the Middle East. This poses a threat to the entire world order.
This is a challenge for the entire international community, so we do not want the resolution of a global problem to lie with us. Israel has no shared borders with Iran and we do not claim any Iranian lands. On the other hand, Iran shares a common border with the Emirates and with Russia, in addition to numerous other countries. Therefore, we believe that the problem exists and is very serious, but that the international community must understand that there are numerous challenges, no less serious, although not always as apparent, whether they be North Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Somalia, or Sudan. We think that, with respect to global priorities, the Israeli-Palestinian problem, with all its complications, does not pose the same threat to world order as the problems of Iran, Pakistan, or Afghanistan…
It is imperative to absolutely and forcefully condemn the denial of Holocaust. The questioning of Holocaust by the president of Iran at the Durban II conference in Switzerland, and the annual conference on Holocaust denial in Tehran which he sponsors, are absolutely unacceptable…
Xenophobia, including its ideology of intolerance, which is unfortunately growing in many countries, needs to be discussed, not only in regards to Jews or Israel. Obviously, we are more concerned with the problem of anti-Semitism, which today, in certain places, has indeed reached absolutely dreadful dimensions. Additionally, the most terrible thing is that there are entire states that adopt an explicitly anti-Semitic stance, under the guise of opposing Israel. In this respect, Iran is playing the most obtrusive and prominent negative role, having developed this issue into a state policy.
Excerpts from interviews by Deputy FM Daniel Ayalon on the occasion of the OAS Conference, 3 June 2009:
While it is true that what’s happening with the Iranian attempt to penetrate into the Latin American continent is of concern, it should be mainly, I think, the concern of the continent. So I wouldn’t necessarily tie my visit here with the Iranians.
However, we are very much concerned with Iran’s continuing flagrant violations of its obligations under the NPT, under the Security Council.
We are here on a positive note to develop relations with the continent and with the individual countries. However, having said that, it is true that we notice a very dangerous shift that has been going on in the last few years, certainly from Venezuela and Mr. Chavez. We know he visited Tehran, maybe seven or eight times, and I don’t believe he went there for sightseeing.
There have also been high-level Iranian visits in Venezuela. We know that there are flights from Caracas via Damascus to Tehran. And we know that there are many Iranian agents that come and visit and probably use Venezuela as a base for their operations here in the region.
Now, it is worth noting that Iran is a country led by a regime which is the most dangerous in the world today, not only in terms of their relentless attempt to achieve nuclear capability but, also, they are very aggressively and actively spewing, disseminating hatred and incitement against what they call the infidels, – they push Islam in a very radical way, and they are also engaged in terrorism.
Only a month ago, a very broad network was exposed in Egypt; it was Iran and Hizbullah. Morocco broke relations with Iran because of some subversion there. Iran is helping Hamas against the Palestinian Authority. It’s helping the Hizbullah against the Lebanese government. They are everywhere. And this is why having them here could be, I think, very dangerous for all the regimes in the region.
Now, we know that Iran was already active here in 1992. Iranian agents blew up the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires. In 1993 they blew up the AMIA, the Jewish Federation building, also in Buenos Aires. Since then they have increased – they are pretty much all over here. So this is mainly a Latin American issue; you have to deal with it.