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Israel's Netanyahu urges Obama to keep up sanctions on Iran

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Israel's Netanyahu urges Obama to keep up sanctions on Iran
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The start of a thaw in US-Iranian relations has been met by almost unanimous approval from world leaders – but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains sceptical of Tehran’s intentions.

The Israeli government fears that a lengthy diplomatic process could allow Iran to reach the point of being able to produce an atomic weapon.

During a meeting at the White House, Netanyahu told US President Barack Obama that keeping sanctions on Iran remained essential.

“I believe that it’s the combination of a credible military threat and the pressure of those sanctions that have brought Iran to the negotiating table. I also believe for diplomacy to work those pressures must be kept in place,” Netanyahu explained.

Barack Obama sought to reassure, saying: “Words are not sufficient. We have to have actions that give the international community confidence that, in fact, they [Iran] are meeting their international obligations fully and that they are not in a position to have a nuclear weapon.”

Netanyahu said the “ultimate test” of future agreement with Iran would be whether it dismantles its “military” nuclear programme.

Iran has always denied that it is working to develop an atomic weapon – saying its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only.