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Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu prepared to 'stand alone' against Iran

Israel’s prime minister has used an address to the United Nations to warn the West not to trust Iran’s new president. He also said Israel was ready to act alone to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday that he did not trust Iran's newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani, and nobody in the West should either.

"Rouhani is a wolf in sheep's clothing. A wolf who thinks he can pull the wool over the eyes of the international community. But like everyone else, I wish we could believe Rouhani's words, but we must focus on Iran's action," Netanyahu said.

He also repeated an accusation that Iran continued to seek nuclear weapons, despite Rouhani's assertion that Tehran's nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

"Don't let up the pressure," Netanyahu said, adding that the only acceptable deal would be one that "fully dismantles Iran's nuclear weapons program."

Netanyahu also said that, if forced to do so, Israel was prepared to act alone to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

"If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone," Netanyahu said.

The Israeli prime minister's address comes a day after a meeting with US President Barack Obama at the White House, in which Netanyahu also called on Washington to keep up the pressure on Iran, despite what's been described as a "charm offensive" by Rouhani. Obama reassured Netanyahu, that the US would enter upcoming negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program with a "clear-eyed" approach.

At the same time, though, the US president said it was time to "test diplomacy," several days after speaking to Rouhani via telephone - the first conversation between leaders of the two countries in over 30 years.

The next nuclear talks between Iran and the P5 +1 group, made up of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, are scheduled for October 15 in Geneva.

Painful concessions in return for peace

Netanyahu also devoted part of his speech to Israel's peace talks with Palestinians, which US Secretary of State John Kerry helped relaunch over the summer. Netanyahu said he was prepared to make painful concessions to bring an enduring peace, but that to do so, Palestinians, too, must make difficult concessions.

pfd/mkg (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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