In Rome, Netanyahu says Iran "threat" to Italy

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech on December 1, 2013 at the Great Synagogue of Rome. (Photo: AFP - Tiziana Fabi)

Published Monday, December 2, 2013

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated his opposition to a nuclear deal with Iran during a visit to Rome in which he was set to meet Pope Francis and Prime Minister Enrico Letta on Monday, saying the Islamic republic poses a threat to Italy and the world.

"It is very easy to receive a pat on the shoulder from the international community, to bow one's head," Netanyahu said on Sunday at a candle-lighting ceremony in Rome's main synagogue which he visited with Letta.

"I would like to dispel any illusions. Iran aspires to attain an atomic bomb. It would thus threaten not only Israel but also Italy, Europe and the entire world," he was quoted as saying on his website.

"There should be no going astray after the attack of smiles. Today there is a regime in Iran that supports terrorism, facilitates the massacre of civilians in Syria and unceasingly arms its proxies," he said.

Netanyahu later on Monday will be received for the first time at an audience by Pope Francis, who is expected to travel to the Middle East next year.

Israeli sources say the visit could take place before Israeli President Shimon Peres ends his term in July.

Although no date has been made official, sources on both sides say it is likely to take place on May 25-26.

Israel and the Vatican first established full diplomatic relations in 1993, but have been engaged in years of thorny diplomatic negotiations over property rights and tax exemptions for the Catholic Church, which have yet to be fully resolved.

Netanyahu and Francis are also expected to discuss negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which resumed in July after a three-year hiatus but have faltered due to Israeli plans for new settlement building.

Netanyahu will then hold a meeting with Letta and a joint press conference is expected at around 1400 GMT.

Iran has agreed to curb its nuclear program for the next six months in exchange for limited sanctions relief following marathon in Geneva last month.

But Israel has slammed the deal as a "historic mistake" and US Secretary of State John Kerry is due in Israel this week to try to calm Netanyahu down.

Israel is the Middle East's sole, albeit undeclared, nuclear power with an estimated stockpile of about 200 bombs.

"The most dangerous regime in the world must not be allowed to have the most dangerous weapon in the world," Netanyahu said on Sunday, adding that the sanctions regime on Iran was "liable to collapse."

(AFP)

Comments

Let's hope the pope will defend peace and mankind by not listening to bibi's evil mind. Bibi's regime is th one supporting terrorism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing, not Iran.

How absurd his comments are! he looks more like a wolf!
Let Israel face reality and become a peace maker..to show the world they mean good!

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