Netanyahu with Berlusconi

[Editor’s comment: manufacturing consent for attack on Iran?]

By Roni Sofer

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday he believed the Iranian people wanted new leadership.

"I believe more than 75% (of the people) there would have liked to replace the regime, and that percentage has recently risen," he told reporters after a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

"This is a regime that needs to be condemned, as I said to Berlusconi, and if not today then when? We need to put pressure on it," he added.

President Shimon Peres joined the onslaught Tuesday, characterizing the Iranian regime as "pathetic and rotten."

"This regime is cracked and full of wounds, and enriched uranium cannot fill that void," he added.

Speaking at the Israel Defense Prize award ceremony, held at his official residence in Jerusalem, Peres said, "In elections in a democratic regime, the vote determines who wins, and in an undemocratic regime, the count determines who wins."

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, also present at the ceremony, said Israel stood before a danger faced by no other country. "Regarding Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas, and other terror organizations, we are witnessing some fascinating developments in our region that require us to be prepared and alert," he said.