Israeli PM would ‘consider’ meeting Iranian president

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday said he would “consider” a meeting with Iran’s President Hassan Rowhani.

Although no such offer had been made, he would “consider it, but it’s not an issue,” Netanyahu told U.S. radio station NPR, the Jerusalem Post reported.

“If I meet with these people, I’d stick this question in their face: Are you prepared to dismantle your [nuclear] program completely? Because you can’t stay with the enrichment,” he said.

Iran is building long-range missiles that could reach the United States, Netanyahu said.

“They only have one purpose: nuclear payloads,” he said, adding that Iran would be capable of doing this “in a few years.”

Rowhani’s willingness to negotiate on Iran’s nuclear program in return for a reprieve from sanctions was a “fake deal,” Netanyahu said.

“What he wants to do is to relieve the sanctions, but advance the program,” Netanyahu added.

“I don’t know why Iran wants it [nuclear energy] because it’s swimming with not only oil but natural gas; for the next 200 years it will suffice for all their energy needs. The reason they insist on enrichment is because they want to maintain the path to nuclear weapons,” the Jerusalem Post quoted Netanyahu as saying.

“Countries that want just civilian nuclear energy do not have heavy water for plutonium and do not have centrifuges for enrichment,” he added.

Netanyahu’s interview is one of eight that he has recently given to American media since his speech on Tuesday at the United Nations, where he criticized Rowhani and said Israel would do all it could to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.