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Israeli PM reiterates opposition to Iran's nuclear program

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday outlined his strong opposition to Iran's nuclear ambitions in an interview with a Persian-language TV channel, in the wake of his speech at the United Nations General Assembly. Netanyahu, in his first television address to BBC Persian, reiterated his doubt about Iran's conciliatory approach.

"We are not patsier," Netanyahu said in Farsi. "I will welcome efforts to stop the nuclear program, not fake ones. Israel wants a diplomatic solution but it must be full and real," he added.

Netanyahu is currently in the United States, where he met with President Barack Obama on Monday and spoke to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

The prime minister has been making media appearances in local and international news broadcasts as part of a campaign that he says will "expose the truth" behind "Iranian smile-attacks."

He faulted Iran's nuclear program and the subsequent sanctions imposed on Iran by the international community as the cause of Iran's socio-economic condition, adding the program also poses a safety threat for Iranians' wellbeing.

The BBC Persian TV network is broadcast in Iran and, according to the Israeli Prime Minister's Office, is watched by 12 million people a week.

Netanyahu's diplomatic efforts are aimed at thwarting recent Iranian diplomatic attempts to reach out to the U.S. and the international community.

The prime minister told the U.N. General Assembly that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is a "wolf in sheep's clothing" who is distracting the international community as Iran continues to develop its nuclear weapons program. He added that if necessary, Israel would act alone militarily to prevent Iran from obtaining weapons.

Iran has long maintained that its nuclear program is designed only for peaceful purposes. The country dismissed Netanyahu's efforts to discredit recent diplomatic developments.

Rouhani said on Wednesday that Israel is "upset and angry" with the signs of the new emerging relationship with the U.S.

"[Israel is] upset because it sees that its blunted sword is being replaced with logic as the governing force in the world and because the Iranian nation's message of peace is being heard," Rouhani said.

Netanyahu's hardline stance was also opposed by members of the Israeli opposition in the Knesset.

"The correct way [to thwart the Iranian nuclear plan] is to join hands with the United States, which had committed itself to us time and again," opposition leader Shelly Yehimovich from the Labor party told Israel Radio on Tuesday.

"It would have been better to go with Obama and not be the people who dwell alone," she said, adding Netanyahu's U.N. speech could cause further friction and isolation for the state of Israel.
 

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