Politics

Netanyahu: Iranian Regime's Repressive Nature 'Unmasked' by Election Turmoil

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the Iranian regime's repressive nature has been "unmasked" by the turmoil over the country's disputed election last week. 

He spoke as the official death toll in Iran rose to at least 17, as protesters continued to march in the streets and clash with regime forces. 

"You see a regime that represses its own people and spreads terror far and wide," Netanyahu said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "It is a regime whose real nature has been unmasked and it's been unmasked by an incredible act of courage by Iran's citizens. ... You see the Iranian lack of democracy at work." 

Israel considers the Iranian regime, with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president and hard-line clerics at the top, as a monumental threat. Ahmadinejad, known for his bellicose rhetoric, has called for the destruction of Israel and is suspected of pursuing nuclear weapons technology. 

Netanyahu declined to predict where the protests would lead, but said they represent a "fundamental" event for the country. 

"I cannot tell you how this thing will end up. I think something very deep and very fundamental is going on," Netanyahu said. "There is an expression of the deep desire amid the people of Iran for freedom. ... This is what is going on." 

Though President Obama has come under criticism in the United States for not being more forceful in his support for the protesters, Netanyahu said he would not "second guess" the American president. 

"I know President Obama wants the people of Iran to be free," he said.