Reuters: Peaceful relations between Israel and Iran would be possible if new leadership took power in Tehran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with German newspaper Bild.
BERLIN, June 22 (Reuters) – Peaceful relations between Israel and Iran would be possible if new leadership took power in Tehran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with German newspaper Bild.
"There is no conflict between the Iranian people and the people of Israel and under a different regime the friendly relations that prevailed in the past could be restored," Netanyahu told German daily Bild.
Hardline Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called the Holocaust a "great deception" and said Israel should be wiped from the map, was officially re-elected in a June 12 vote that the opposition has denounced as a fraud.
The election has provoked the most violent unrest in Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution which ousted the U.S.-backed shah. Iran has accused the West and its media of playing a role in fomenting unrest.
Netanyahu said he had "no doubt" that Iran's citizens would choose a different government if allowed to vote freely.
"I think the true nature of the Iranian regime has been unmasked," he told Bild.
"What we have seen in Iran is a powerful desire on the part of the Iranian people to be free."
In the interview, Netanyahu also touched on ties with the Palestinians.
He said Israel shared the view of other governments around the world that the Palestinians should be allowed to live peacefully and freely alongside Israel.
"What hasn't been expressed clearly enough was the consensus that exists on the Israeli side and that has characterised successive governments," he said.
"We want to live peacefully next to the Palestinians and we don't want to govern them. We want them to have all the powers to govern themselves — except those handful of powers that could threaten Israel."
But he reiterated there were conditions to Israeli recognition of a Palestinian state, including that such a state be demilitarised and that it recognise Israel as a nation.
"We don't want to have another Iran next to our borders," Netanyahu said. (Writing by Noah Barkin; Editing by Louise Ireland)