Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu on Iran: "They're not developing those ICBMs for us"

(CBS News) Secretary of State John Kerry responded for the first time to a United Nations speech from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who warned the U.S. not to trust Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani.

Kerry said in Tokyo Thursday that Iran will have to prove it is not trying to build nuclear weapons: "It would be diplomatic malpractice of the worst order not to examine every possibility," he said. "I assure Prime Minister Netanyahu and the people of Israel that nothing that we do is going to be based on trust."

Kerry: "Obligation" to test Iran's diplomatic overtures
Condoleezza Rice: Iran "absolutely" cannot be trusted

In a wide-ranging interview with "CBS This Morning" co-host Charlie Rose Wednesday, Netanyahu laid out his evidence, saying he is not making a "guesstimate" on Iran. "This is very solid information," he said.

When asked if he has sources, Netanyahu replied, "Yeah, a few. There is, there is a very clear distinction between Rouhani and (former Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad. Rouhani says, 'We can get to nuclear weapons with a smile.' Ahmadinejad said, 'We can get to nuclear weapons with a frown.' Because the sanctions are about to take a devastating blow on the Iranian economy that has already been badly hit, [Ali Khamenei, supreme leader of Iran] has given Rouhani a chance."

Rose asked, "There is nothing in your DNA that would allow you to be prime minister of Israel when Iran has the capacity to make a nuclear bomb, nothing, under no circumstances would you allow that to happen?"

Netanyahu replied, "That's correct."

Turning to the question of Israel's military might - and whether it has only the ability to delay Iran compared to the U.S. - Netanyahu said, "I'll give you a state secret. The U.S. has a stronger military than Israel, but, but don't short-change Israel either. Don't short-change them."

The Israeli prime minister declined to discuss the issue of a possible attack against Iran if negotiations are under way. He said, "You know, I never talk about that, but I did and do say what has been said time and time again, including by President Obama: Israel is threatened with annihilation by Iran. And Israel has the right, I would say the duty, to defend itself by itself, against any threat."

He continued, "By the way, Iran, Charlie, would not be interested in having one bomb or two bombs. They're gearing up with their infrastructure for 200 bombs. And they're not developing those ICBMs for us. They can reach us with what they have. It's for you."

Asked if he told President Obama that, Netanyahu said, "I don't have to tell him that because the American intelligence knows as well as we do that Iran is developing ICBMs not to reach Israel. They want to reach well beyond."

In his talks with Mr. Obama, Netanyahu said the president is looking for actions, not words.

He said, "The policy should be not to let Iran- it's in no one's interest, not ours and not the U.S., not to let Iran wiggle away with a partial deal in which they make cosmetic concessions, you lift the sanctions or part of them. Once you do that, the sanction regime can collapse."

Rose said, "OK, but this is an important point. I mean, where is it that the United States and Israel differ on having negotiations with Iran? The president has said clearly, 'We have to see deeds, not rhetoric.'"

Netanyahu said, "Absolutely right."

Rose said, "And so what do you differ on?"

Netanyahu said, "We don't know that we differ on anything. I don't- we don't object to testing the diplomatic route. If there's any country on Earth that is threatened with annihilation from Iran's nuclear weapons and us, it's us. So if we can resolve this diplomatically, bravo. But the question is, what is a deal that does it?"

For more of Netanyahu's interview, watch the video above.

  • Amanda Cochran

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