Israel’s Netanyahu says Iran wants ‘our destruction’

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JERUSALEM  (AFP) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned anew on Sunday of a nuclear-powered Iran at the annual Holocaust memorial for the victims of the Nazi genocide, saying Tehran wants “our destruction”.

“Iran is calling for our destruction, it is building underground bunkers to enrich uranium, producing heavy water for plutonium, acquiring intercontinental missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads that threaten the entire world,” Netanyahu said.

In November, Iran clinched a deal with world powers under which it froze some nuclear activities in return for limited relief from crippling Western sanctions.

Since then it has been engaged in negotiations with the P5+1 — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany — aimed at reaching a lasting accord on its nuclear ambitions.

Israel, which is widely believed to be the only nuclear-armed state in the region, had denounced the November agreement and repeatedly voiced concern over the ongoing talks between Iran and world powers.

Speaking at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, Netanyahu urged world powers “not to give in for the sake of avoiding, at all costs, a confrontation” with Tehran.

Netanyahu, whose government has not ruled out military action to prevent Iran from acquiring an atomic bomb, said the international community must demand Tehran “dismantle totally its capacity to produce nuclear weapons.”

Israel and the West have long suspected Iran of covertly pursuing a nuclear weapons capability alongside its civilian programme — something strongly denied by Tehran.

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