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Netanyahu: Iran must be convinced it could be attacked

| Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010

Bloomberg News

NEW ORLEANS -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the United States and the international community need to convince Iran that a military strike is possible in order to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.

"The simple paradox is this," Netanyahu said in a speech yesterday to Jewish activists. "If the international community, led by the U.S., wants to stop Iran without resorting to military action, it will have to convince Iran that it is prepared to take such action."

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said last week his country was ready to hold talks on its nuclear program with the five permanent United Nations Security Council members plus Germany. Tehran denies claims by Israel, as well as by the United States and many of its allies, that Iran's nuclear program may be providing cover for the development of weapons.

Netanyahu, 61, is on a five-day visit to the United States aimed at rallying support among American Jews and discussing with U.S. mediators ways to resume stalled peace talks with the Palestinian Authority. Netanyahu met with Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday and will hold discussions with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before leaving Thursday from New York.

Israel yesterday published construction plans for more than 1,000 new homes in east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians consider to be part of the West Bank and seek for the capital of their state.

The Israeli announcement may "derail the American and international efforts to resume a peace process," said Ghassan Khatib, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority. "Israel is determined to demonstrate that settlement expansion is more of a priority to it than peace talks."

Netanyahu's spokesman Mark Regev declined to comment on the plans. State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley called the plans "counterproductive" and said the United States was "deeply disappointed."

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