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Friday, October 21, 2016

Israel Prime Minister To Demand End To Iran Nuclear Program

Jerusalem (AFP) – Israel’s prime minister will tell Washington that Iran’s nuclear program must be dismantled and not merely supervised when he visits the White House on Monday, Israeli media reported.

Benjamin Netanyahu will tell President Barack Obama that Israel will abandon the diplomatic path on Iran’s nuclear program if it is not completely dismantled, according to the diplomatic correspondent of Israel’s Channel One television network.

The implication was that Israel may be willing to take unilateral military action against Iran, the reporter said.

The reporter cited sources close to Netanyahu, who headed to New York Sunday vowing to counter the “sweet talk” of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate who has said he wants to resolve the decade-long nuclear stand-off.

Both Israel and the United States have refused to rule out military action to halt Iran’s nuclear drive, which they say is aimed at developing atomic weapons, charges adamantly denied by Tehran.

Rouhani’s expressed desire for a rapprochement with Washington, and his historic phone call with Obama last week, have raised concerns in Israel that such gestures could blunt international efforts to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Netanyahu has long portrayed Rouhani as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” insisting that Iran is still a major threat to the Jewish state.

A recent poll found that most Israelis agree, with 78 percent believing Rouhani is not sincere about reaching a deal on the nuclear program.

After meeting Obama, Netanyahu is due to address the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, the same forum where last year he used a cartoon bomb as a prop to underline how close he believed Iran was to being able to build a nuclear weapon.

Israel, the Middle East’s sole if undeclared nuclear-armed power, remains adamant that Iran is bent on developing a weapons capability under the cover of its civilian nuclear program, something it regards as a threat to its existence.

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