An Iranian diplomat took the floor after the scheduled UN General Assembly speeches Sept. 29 and read a statement criticizing the address that had been made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu, who spent a considerable part of his speech warning about the dangers of the Iranian government and its ambitions, particularly its nuclear program, urged the world to not forget Iran as it builds a coalition to fight against the threat of the Islamic State.
The statement from the Iranian UN mission, read by counselor Javad Safaei, called Netanyahu’s speech a “senseless rhetorical statement.” In regard to the 50-day Israeli-Gaza war, a war in which “all international norms and laws were blatantly flouted,” Netanyahu “tried in vain to wash his hands of the most recent bloodbath in Gaza,” the statement read.
The statement rejected how Netanyahu attempted to associate various Islamist movements with IS and said that he was promoting “Iranphobia and Islamophobia” and said that while Israel has its own nuclear weapons program, it accuses Iran of trying to acquire nuclear weapons. The statement said that Netanyahu was simply attempting to “sabotage and disrupt” Iran’s attempts to negotiate about its nuclear program.
A number of conservative Iranian media also criticized Netanyahu’s comments, although a great deal of their coverage involved loose translations of English-language media critical of Netanyahu’s speech.
Raja News chose as its headline “Haaretz: Netanyahu’s speech was boring and empty.” A Haaretz article by Barak Ravid had said that by the time Netanyahu arrived to give his speech, most of the countries had left the UN and that the seating looked “empty” and that “the diplomats who were there sank into their chairs and looked bored.”
Alef website wrote that Netanyahu’s speech, in which he presented a poster he claimed was of Palestinian children playing near a rocket launcher, once again made a “media mockery” of the prime minister. Two years ago Netanyahu presented a cartoonish diagram of a bomb to represent Iran’s nuclear program and drew a red line with a marker showing where Israel’s red line was. The cartoon and Netanyahu quickly turned into an Internet phenomenon.
Fars News wrote that Netanyahu “repeated his previous empty claims about the necessity of not giving Iran concessions on their nuclear programs” and criticized that Iran was referred to as “Islamic State of Iran,” attempting to draw a parallel between Iran and IS, rather than the correct “Islamic Republic of Iran.” The article wrote that while Netanyahu tried to focus world attention on Iran, many other issues, such as IS, Ebola and Ukraine had attracted considerable attention this year.
A number of Iranian websites also chose as their headline comments by State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki that the United States, contrary to comments by Netanyahu, does not view Hamas and IS as an equal threat. “America also rejected Netanyahu’s speech,” the headline for Jahan News wrote. During a news conference, Psaki said, “We’ve designated both as terrorist organizations, but ISIL [IS] poses a different threat to Western interests and to the United States." Netanyahu called Hamas and IS “branches of the same poisonous tree.”