UK & World News
Israel's Warning To UK On Relations With Iran
Israel's Prime Minister has attempted to pour cold water on warming relations between Britain and Iran, imploring that diplomatic relations should not be re-established unless Iran entirely dismantles its "nuclear weapons programme" and stops calling for the "annihilation of the state of Israel".
In an exclusive interview with Sky News in his Jerusalem offices, Benjamin Netanyahu continued his now well-established campaign to counter-attack Iran's recent "charm offensive" in Washington and the United Nations in New York.
Western diplomatic sources said that they have grounds to believe that the new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani may be "genuinely interested in joining the community of nations and conceding on its weapons programme" in order to end crippling international economic sanctions.
Mr Netanyahu said that the West could be suckered by Mr Rouhani's moves.
"It could be duped and shouldn't be duped. It's got sufficient examples of warnings not to be duped ... Churchill said don't let the Nazis arm themselves. Do not let an implacable radical regime have awesome power. And he was right.
"And there is a lesson to be learned here - don't let a regime with unlimited ambitions and aggression, Iran, that is participating in the mass murder of Assad ... propping Assad up right now against thousands and tens of thousands of men women and children, by practising terrorism across five continents," the Prime Minister of the Jewish State said.
He observed that a "good deal" that ended sanctions would be one that says to Iran 'do what Syria is doing now'.
That is, if Assad came and said 'please relax the pressure remove the military option against me and I will give you 20% of my chemical weapons' - people would laugh him out of court.
He said: "Effectively that is what Iran is proposing. It is proposing that it gets rid of some of our military nuclear capability but we leave really the bulk of what we need to rush forward and make enough enriched uranium to make a bomb and you remove the sanctions ..."
Israel has worked hard to build an international coalition against Iran.
It has alternatively threatened to attack Iran's alleged nuclear weapons programme unilaterally - and agreed to let Washington take the lead on making implied military threats.
But the phone call between Mr Rouhani and US President Barack Obama at the end of the Iranian president's visit to the East Coast of the US, has rattled the Israeli leadership across the political spectrum.
Most would agree with Mr Netanyahu that "you've got a situation now where Iran is on the ropes - they're on the ropes, the economy is about to collapse".
"But ? (they are) very close to threshold status to produce enough fissile material for the core of atomic bombs - that's the hard part of making an atomic bomb," he said.
"Now you have got them they're in the 12th round of a boxing match and they're on the ropes and instead of growling they're smiling. And you're supposed to let them rise from the ropes and continue?"
Israel's main fear is a temporary deal between Iran and the international community, which would already have the backing of Russia and China, two of the five permanent members of the UN security council, to trade a partial lifting of economic sanctions for partial concessions on developing weapons grade uranium.
But wasn't Mr Netanyahu risking appearing both petulant and belligerent by taking a hard line on Iran, out of step with the rest of the world?
The Israeli Prime Minister replied: "No I was accused (of being) petulant and belligerent at the time of the Arab spring two or three years ago. And I said 'it's not quite what you think - it may herald an Islamist tide that will sweep away all the hopes for democracy'.
"Most people think I was right about that."