MOSCOW - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday vowed Israel would never let Iran obtain a nuclear weapon, as world powers sought a deal with Tehran in Geneva over its nuclear drive.
"I pledge Iran will not get a nuclear weapon," Netanyahu, who has never ruled out military action against Tehran, said in a Hebrew-language speech to leaders of Russia's Jewish community in Moscow. He did not elaborate.
Speaking on the second day of a visit to Moscow to campaign against an emerging world power deal with Iran, Netanyahu accused Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of echoing the lexicon of the Nazi Holocaust.
"Yesterday, Iran's supreme leader, Khamenei, said 'death to America, death to Israel', he said that Jews are not human beings."
"Sound familiar?" Netanyahu asked.
"The Iranians deny our past and speak time afer time of their commitment to wipe the state of Israel off the map," he added. "That reminds us of the dark regimes which in the past began by persecuting us and later the whole of mankind,"
Khamenei told militia commanders in Tehran on Wednesday that Israel, Iran's arch-foe, was "doomed to collapse", "the rabid dog" of the Middle East, and had leaders "not worthy" of being called "human".
"That is the real Iran," Netanyahu said. "Such an Iran must not get a nuclear weapon."
After talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, Netanyahu insisted on the need for a "real" solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis.
Netanyahu's speech in Moscow came as Iran and world powers were set Thursday to begin hammering out a landmark deal freezing parts of Tehran's atomic programme to ease fears of the Islamic republic obtaining nuclear weapons.
Tehran insists that its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful.
"Iran will continue to harden its positions in the negotiations until the last moment, because it feels that it can," a senior official in the Israeli delegation to Moscow told accompanying journalists on Thursday.
"There is a possibility that the interim agreement with Iran will become the final agreement," he said.
"The true face of Iran is the face of the its ruler, Khamenei, who yesterday again attacked the United States while the mob in front of him cried, 'Death to America.'
"We strongly condemn these things," the official said.
"We want a peaceful solution, a diplomatic solution, everybody prefers that to any other solution...but it needs to be a real solution," Netanyahu said after meeting Putin on Wednesday night, adding that this would involve Iran halting nuclear work in the same way as Syria was allowing its chemical weapons arsenal to be destroyed.
"I don't imagine that the international community would have accepted an agreement whereby Syria slightly thinned out its stock of chemical materials, most of it stayed in place and the ability to produce such a weapon remained unchanged," he said.
"That is more or less what's on the table in Geneva."
Iran would have to halt uranium enrichment, dismantle centrifuges, have enriched uranium material sent abroad and stop work on its Arak heavy water reactor, he said.
Netanyahu was due to visit Moscow's Jewish museum before heading home on Thursday night.