On the occasion of the inauguration of a new American president, Prime Minister Netanyahu on Saturday night decided to send a message of friendship to the Iranian people, because, as he put it, “it struck me recently that I’ve spoken a lot about the Iranian regime and not enough about the Iranian people, or for that matter, to the Iranian people.”
“I plan to speak soon with President Trump about how to counter the threat of the Iranian regime which calls for Israel’s destruction,” Netanyahu said, adding that he hopes his message “reaches every Iranian—young and old, religious and secular, man and woman.”
“I know you’d prefer to live without fear. I know you’d want to be able to speak freely, to love who you want without the fear of being tortured or hung from a crane. I know you’d like to surf the Web freely and not have to see videos like this one using a virtual private network to circumvent censorship.
“You have a proud history. You have a rich culture. Tragically, you are shackled by a theocratic tyranny. In a free Iran you will once again be able to flourish without limit. But today, a cruel regime is trying to keep you down.
“I’ll never forget the images of brave young students hungry for change gunned down in the streets of Tehran in 2009; and I’ll never forget beautiful Neda Sultan gasping for her last breath on that sidewalk.
“This ruthless regime continues to deny you your freedom. It prevents thousands of candidates from competing in elections. It steals money from your poor to fund a mass murderer like Assad.
“By calling daily for Israel’s destruction, the regime hopes to instill hostility between us. This is wrong. We are your friend, not your enemy. We’ve always distinguished between the Iranian people and the Iranian regime.
“The regime is cruel – the people are not; the regime is aggressive – the people are warm. I yearn for the day when Israelis and Iranians can once again visit each other freely in Tehran and Esfahan, in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
“The fanatics must not win. Their cruelty must not conquer our compassion.
Our two peoples can work together for a more peaceful and hopeful future for both of us. We must defeat terror and tyranny and we must ensure that freedom and friendship win the day.”