Rowhani, Netanyahu spar at Davos economic forum

 24 Jan 2014 - 5:30


DAVOS: Iran yesterday stepped up attempts to normalise relations with the West with a Davos charm offensive that was immediately attacked by Israel as a confidence trick.
President Hassan Rowhani told the World Economic Forum that his government was sincere in its desire for a new relationship based on mutual trust and a rebuilding of economic ties shattered by international sanctions.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, also speaking at the forum, warned the West not to take the media-friendly Iranian’s offer at face value, insisting there was no concrete evidence of any fundamental change in the nature of the Islamic regime. 
“Rowhani can say something but it doesn’t make it real. 
“It’s false,” Netanyahu said.
He said Rowhani’s claim that Iran wanted to promote stability and security in the Middle East had “no connection with what is ongoing on the ground,” notably in Syria, where he said Iranian Revolutionary Guards and its Hezbollah allies were fighting and killing alongside government forces. 
Rowhani described the nuclear accord, which limits Iran’s ability to enrich uranium and provides for inspection of its facilities, as marking the start of a new phase in relations with the US.
Rowhani stressed that Iran believed a full deal was achievable.
He also reiterated that the regime would never give up its right to join some 40 countries in acquiring the capacity to generate nuclear power and use nuclear technology for peaceful ends.
In an apparent reference to Israel, he said he saw the major impediment to a full nuclear accord as “a lack of serious will by other parties or pressure influenced by others”.
Israel believes Iran remains dangerously close to the capacity to build a nuclear missile which would threaten the its existence.
Netanyahu denounced Rowhani’s latest charm offensive as a typical piece of “deception.”
“The goal of the ayatollahs’ regime, which is hiding behind Rowhani’s smiles, is to ease sanctions without conceding on their programme to produce nuclear weapons.” Agencies