Last updated: 18 April, 2012

Netanyahu denounces Iran threat on Holocaust anniversary

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced Iran’s nuclear programme on Wednesday during a ceremony in Jerusalem to commemorate the Nazi Holocaust that killed six million Jews.

“People who refuse to see the Iranian threat have learned nothing from the Shoah (Holocaust). They are afraid to speak the truth, which is today, as it was then (World War II), that there are people who want to annihilate millions of Jews.”

“That is contempt for the Shoah and an insult to its victims,” the premier said in an address at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

“The truth is that an Iran in possession of nuclear arms is an existential threat to the State of Israel. A nuclear Iran also represents an immediate threat for other countries in the region and to world peace.”

Iran must be “stopped from acquiring nuclear weapons. That is the duty of the international community and, above all, our duty.”

As each year on this day, Israelis on Thursday will stand silent for 10 minutes from 10:00 am (0700 GMT), as sirens sound throughout the country.

Israel, the United States and many other countries suspect Iran of using its civilian nuclear programme to mask an arms drive, something Tehran vehemently denies.

In recent months, there have been growing concerns that the Jewish state might carry out military strikes on Iran in a bid to destroy, or at least severely disable, the nuclear programme.