Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the international community on Sunday against easing sanctions on Iran following the election of a reformist-backed President, as the country’s nuclear efforts remain firmly in the hands of Iran’s extremist ruling clerics.
Netanyahu made the comments a day after the surprise victory by Hassan Rowhani in Iran’s presidential election was announced. Although Rowhani is considered a relative moderate and had the backing of Iranian reformists, Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the ultimate authority on all state matters.
Netanyahu said the Iranian clerics disqualified candidates they disagreed with from running in the election.
He said the international community must not get caught in “wishful thinking” and ease the pressure on Tehran saying “Iran will be tested by its deeds.”
Israel considers a nuclear-armed Iran to be an existential threat, citing Iranian calls for Israel’s destruction, its support for anti-Israel militant groups and its missile and nuclear technology.