JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday Iranian president-elect Hassan Rouhani had shown his true face after he was quoted as saying Israel was a "wound" that must be removed.
Netanyahu said Rouhani, due to take office on Sunday, was no less anti-Israel than his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and said the world must not allow Iran to pursue its nuclear ambitions and threaten Israel.
"The true face of Rouhani has been revealed sooner than expected . . . this is what the man thinks and this is the Iranian regime's plan of action," Netanyahu said in a statement.
"A nation that threatens to destroy the state of Israel must not be allowed to have weapons of mass destruction," he said.
Iran's student news agency reported that Rouhani had said in a speech: "The Zionist regime is a wound that has sat on the body of the Muslim world for years and needs to be removed."
Israel — widely believed to possess the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal — says Iran is planning to build nuclear weapons and has hinted it might take military action if other nations fail to persuade Tehran to curb its atomic program.
Iran denies it is planning to build an atomic bomb and says its nuclear program is for civilian purposes.
© 2015 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.