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UN chief: Iran has window to show nuclear program peaceful

Netanyahu, Ban Ki-moon meet after PM’s UN speech to discuss regional issues

Benjamin Netanyahu, left, shaking hands with Ban Ki-moon in Jerusalem in August 2013. (photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/Flash90/File)
Benjamin Netanyahu, left, shaking hands with Ban Ki-moon in Jerusalem in August 2013. (photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/Flash90/File)

Iran now has a window of opportunity to prove its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reportedly told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting Tuesday following the PM’s speech before the General Assembly.

The two met to discuss several issues pertaining to the Middle East including the Syrian crisis and the ongoing US-mediated peace talks with the Palestinians, Army Radio reported Wednesday.

Ban reportedly briefed Netanyahu regarding progress on Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile and plans for a peace summit in Geneva expected in November.

According to the report, Ban also praised Netanyahu’s leadership in talks with the Palestinians.

The prime minister’s speech before the UNGA Tuesday focused on warning the world about Iran’s true intentions and Israel’s readiness to act alone, if necessary, to defend itself.

“Israel will never acquiesce to nuclear arms in the hands of a rogue regime that repeatedly promises to wipe us out,” vowed Netanyahu.

“If Israel is forced to stand alone” against that threat, “Israel will stand alone,” he said, though it would know that it was also defending others.

Late last month, the UN chief praised Iran’s newfound willingness to negotiate with world powers over its disputed nuclear program.

“I commend the efforts of the new government in Iran in promoting dialogue with the international community,” Ban said. “I’m pleased the government… is now taking some concrete steps to fulfill the promises made by President [Hasan] Rouhani during his recent election campaign.”

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