Sun, 20 Jan 2013 05:00:02 GMT

Iran''s nuclear programme world''s problem: Netanyahu



From Harinder Mishra
Jerusalem, Jan 20 (PTI) Two days ahead of the general elections in Israel, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has targeted Iran over its contested nuclear agenda, saying history would not forgive those who do not stop Tehran''s atomic programe.

In a meeting with top US senators, including ex-Republican Presidential nominee John McCain, Netanyahu said, "History will not forgive those who do not stop Iran''s nuclear programme."
"Building in Jerusalem is not the world''s problem, a nuclear Iran is the world''s problem," Netanyahu, 63, said.

Netanyahu, a former commando turned conservative hardliner, portrays himself as an uncompromising tough guy over Iran issue.

The senators discussed changes in the Middle East, including the need to intensify sanctions against Iran, which continues to advance its nuclear programme, the Prime Minister''s officer said.

The Premier also addressed the issue of advancing contacts between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas during the talks, details of which were not available.

Netanyahu thanked the senators for the relentless support of the Senate for the State of Israel.

Netanyahu earlier this week acknowledged that he has some differences with US President Barack Obama but played down the same saying it is not the first time that the close allies have had differences and that they haven''t come in the way of cooperation on key issues.

"Well, look, we cooperate on many things, especially on intensified security and intelligence cooperation, and Im sure that cooperation will continue between America and Israel, especially our common goal of preventing Iran from achieving nuclear weapons," he told the Jerusalem Post in a pre-election interview.

He also appreciated Obama''s support during Israel''s Gaza operation and the support the US President and the Congress gave Israel on developing the Iron Dome anti-missile defence system.

However, he acknowledged for the first time that "Obama and I also have our differences, especially on the best way to achieve and advance a defensible peace with the Palestinians".

"I respect the President and I know that we would both like to see peace achieved in this region, even if we sometimes disagree on the best way to achieve it", he said.

"I am confident that President Obama understands that only a sovereign Israeli government can determine what Israel''s interests are," Netanyahu asserted.

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