Rowhani's speech 'cynical', 'full of hypocrisy'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu early Wednesday blasted Iranian President Hassan Rowhani for making what he described as a "cynical speech that was full of hypocrisy" at the UN General Assembly.

Rowhani, who swept to power in June on promises to ease tensions with the West and combat US-led sanctions that have crippled Iran's economy, said in his speech that his country posed no threat and was not pursuing nuclear weapons.

But Netanyahu was not convinced.

"As expected, this was a cynical speech that was full of hypocrisy," said the Israeli PM.

"Rowhani spoke of human rights even as Iranian forces are participating in the large-scale slaughter of innocent civilians in Syria," he said in a statement issued early Wednesday in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu also accused Rowhani of condemning "terrorism even as the Iranian regime is using terrorism in dozens of countries around the world".

He took issue with Rowhani for reaffirming Tehran's position that its nuclear drive is "exclusively peaceful".

"This is exactly Iran's strategy -- to talk and play for time in order to advance its ability to achieve nuclear weapons. Rowhani knows this well," charged Netanyahu.

"The international community must test Iran not by its words but by its actions," added Netanyahu, who will address the UN General Assembly next week.

He has refused to rule out a military strike against Iran's contested nuclear programme.