Netanyahu warns of ‘immortal Iran’

Israel’s prime minister says Iranians “deserve better” than their current government and that their lives could get worse if it gains nuclear weapons.

In an interview with BBC Persian, Benjamin Netanyahu warned: “If they get nuclear weapons this brutal regime will be immortal, like North Korea.”

He also said the new President, Hassan Rouhani, could not “change the real decisions” made by the Supreme Leader.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Mr Rouhani have said they reject nuclear weapons.

They insist Iran’s nuclear programme is solely for peaceful purposes, but world powers suspect they are not being truthful.

There has nevertheless been a recent thaw in relations between Iran and the US, with Mr Rouhani and President Barack Obama recently discussing the issue – the first top-level conversation between the two countries for more than 30 years.

In his interview – his first with a Persian-language media organisation – Mr Netanyahu said people, himself included, wanted to see “a diplomatic solution to end Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons”.

“But I want to see a real solution. Not a fake one,” he told BBC Persian.

That would involve the “complete dismantling of Iran’s ability to make nuclear weapons”, he added.

“If they want civilian energy, they don’t need enrichment. Uranium enrichment is necessary only if you want nuclear weapons.”