For Rabin, Iran was a reason to solve Israel's other problems. For Netanyahu, it's been an excuse to ignore them. (Gershom Gorenburg, No, Netanyahu Wasn't the First to Notice the Geiger Counter Clicking in Iran, Haaretz, August 26, 2015.)This characterization of how Rabin viewed Iran compared with Netanyahu today echoes Gareth Fraser in his book Manufactured Crisis.
For Rabin, invoking an extraordinary new threat from Iran had an immediate domestic political objective: deflecting Israeli animosity away from the Palestinians and providing political cover for Rabin's moves for peace with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). ... [Porter later cites an aide of Rabin who asserted] that it was Rabin's interest in opening talks with the PLO that drove the new policy toward Iran. (Gareth Porter, Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, 2014, Chapter 5.)So it would seem that Rabin talked about Iran in order to make peace with the Palestinians so that the State of Israel could be more focused upon Iran.
How unfortunate it is that this aspect of Rabin's policy towards Iran has, it appears, since been lost by his successors.