An Iranian official says that his country needs a nuclear bomb in order to “put Israel in its place.”

Majlis (Parliament) Member Mohammad Nabavian also said that the Obama administration made numerous, concerted efforts to secure a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani when the latter was in New York – including five telephone calls from U.S. officials to Iran’s foreign minister.

Iranian Official: We Need Nuclear Bomb to ‘So We Can Put Israel in its Place’

Majlis Representative Mohammad Nabavian (Image: Baharnews.ir via MEMRI)

“We don’t aspire to obtain a nuclear bomb, but it is necessary so we can put Israel in its place,” Nabavian said in a speech on Friday which was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) on Tuesday.

According to MEMRI’s analysis, putting Israel “in its place” refers to the Iranian desire “to create a balance of terror vis-a-vis Israel.”

Nabavian recounted President Hassan Rouhani describing to him and other lawmakers about the extensive White House attempts to arrange a meeting between President Barack Obama and Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York in September.

Those efforts included a message from Obama right after Rouhani won the presidential elections last summer. While he was still in Iran, “the White House contacted me five times seeking a meeting,” Nabavian quoted Rouhani as saying.

After arriving in New York, Rouhani again was contacted at his hotel by an unspecified White House official.

“I assembled the delegation accompanying me and we decided not to meet (with Obama). On Tuesday afternoon after the press conference, they said to me, ‘why did you humiliate Obama and America?’, and I said there was no humiliation. Here I recalled the words of the Imam (Khomeini) who said that one must humiliate the infidel leaders,” Nabavian reported about Rouhani’s description of the events.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reportedly said that this then happened on Friday: “They contacted me five times from the White House and said that there should at least be a courtesy telephone conversation.”

“Now the question must be asked: Why does this superpower insist on meeting Iran’s president…while calling us a third-world (country)? Nabavian asked.

MEMRI wrote that Nabavian is “a member of Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah Yazdi’s radical faction.”

Nabavian offered this analysis as to why he thinks the Obama administration courted Rouhani. “In Syria, the U.S. did not manage to attack and was humiliated. In practice, Obama was humiliated because he did not stand up to Iran, and hence it is necessary to meet with Iran’s president to show that he is a strong man and tell the world,” he said.