Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has quickly reacted to a remark by Iran's president Hassan Rouhani who had called Israel "a cancerous tumor" in a speech on November 24.
Netanyhau in a tweet said, "Israel knows very well how to defend itself from the murderous Iranian regime. Rouhani's slander, which calls for the destruction of Israel, proves yet again why the nations of the world need to join in the sanctions against the Iranian terrorist regime which threatens them".
Rouhani who is considered a "pragmatist" and a relative moderate has toughened his tone regarding Israel and the West in recent months, as United States sanctions were reimposed on Iran.
Rouhani's rhetoric now is not much different from Iranian hardliners headed by the Supreme Leader ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Calls by Iranian officials for the destruction of Israel accelerated during the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (2005-2013), who was considered an ultraconservative hardliner in foreign policy.
In his speech at the the annual Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran, Rouhani also called on world Muslims to unite against the U.S., instead of "rolling out red carpets for criminals".