Netanyahu: 'Rouhani Thinks He Can Have His Yellowcake and Eat It Too'

By Melanie Arter | October 1, 2013 | 1:39 PM EDT

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

( – In an address to the United Nations Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani wants the world to believe that it is not pursuing nuclear weapons, all the while building nuclear infrastructure and retaining nuclear materials.

“You see, Rouhani thinks he can have his yellowcake and eat it too,” Netanyahu said in his speech to the U.N.

On Sept. 18, Rouhani told NBC News, “We have never pursued or sought a nuclear bomb, and we are not going to do so,” he said. “We solely are looking for peaceful nuclear technology.”

Netanyahu disputed that statement, however, pointing out that the Iranian leader has made similar statements in the past while the country was secretly working on underground nuclear facilities.

“Here’s what he said in his 2011 book about his time as Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator. ‘While we were talking to the Europeans in Tehran, we were installing the equipment in Isfahan,’” Netanyahu quoted Rouhani as saying.

“Now for those of you who don’t know, the Isfahan facility is an indispensible part of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. That’s where Iranian ore called the yellowcake is converted into an enrichable form,” Netanyahu continued. “Rouhani boasted, ‘By creating a calm environment, we were able to complete the work in Isfahan.’ He fooled the world once. Now he thinks he can fool it again.”