Iranian state TV says Rohani didn’t call Israel an ‘old wound’ that should be removed; Netanyahu said originally-reported comments reveal Rohani’s true face, in later statement PM’s office says it stands by earlier statement despite Iranian ‘denial.’
Iranian state television said on Friday reports quoting Iran’s president-elect Hassan Rohani as calling Israel a “wound that … needs to be removed” were distorted.
“News agencies distort Iran pres-elect Rohani’s remarks on Quds Day,” said a breaking news caption on Press TV.
Earlier on Friday, Iranian news agencies reported that cleric Rohani – who will be inaugurated on Sunday – had described the Zionist regime as “a wound that has sat on the body of the Muslim world for years and needs to be removed.”
The quote by Press TV was later corrected to: “After all, in our region, there’s been a wound for years on the body of the Muslim world under the shadow of the occupation of the holy land of Palestine and the beloved [city of] al-Quds.”
Responding to the reports, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office stated, “We are standing 100% by our [earlier] statement regarding Rohani. We knew the Iranians would hurry to deny it, but we are not retracting our statement.”
Rohani won a landslide victory in Iran’s June 14 presidential election. He replaces Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday. The incoming president has pledged to follow a “path of moderation” and promised greater openness over Iran’s nuclear program, which has placed it at odds with the West.
Netanyahu had been quick to respond to Rohani’s originally-reported comments, saying they revealed the true face of Iran’s president-elect, often considered a moderate reformer.
“Rohani has shown his true colors sooner than expected,” Netanyahu said in Jerusalem.
“This is what the man thinks and it is the action plan of the Iranian regime,” he said.
“There is a new president, but the goal of the regime has not changed – to develop nuclear weapons to threaten Israel, the Middle East and peace and security in the entire world.”
Netanyahu added that a state that threatens Israel with annihilation should be prevented from acquiring any weapons of mass destruction.