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Netanyahu denies split with US
03 Mar 2015 07:07
US President Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu have clashed over Iran's nuclear diplomacy on the eve of the Israeli prime minister's hotly disputed address to Congress.
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The two leaders professed their commitment to a strong partnership with each other but hammered home their differences on Iran's nuclear ambitions in clashing messages.
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Mr Netanyahu outlined his views in a speech to pro-Israeli supporters, while Mr Obama gave an interview to Reuters.
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Tomorrow, Mr Netanyahu will detail his objections to ongoing talks between Iran and world powers that he says will inevitably allow Tehran to become a nuclear-armed state.
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Mr Netanyahu opened his high-profile visit to Washington today with a stark warning to the Obama administration that the deal being negotiated with Tehran could threaten Israel's survival.
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He said he had a "moral obligation" to sound the alarm about the dangers.
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He insisted he meant no disrespect to Mr Obama, with whom he has a history of testy encounters, and appreciated US military and diplomatic support for Israel.
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Just hours after Mr Netanyahu's speech to AIPAC, the largest US pro-Israel lobby, Mr Obama told Reuters that Iran should commit to a verifiable freeze of at least ten years on its most sensitive nuclear activity for a landmark atomic deal to be reached.
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However, with negotiators facing an end-of-March deadline for a framework accord, he said the odds were still against sealing a final agreement.
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The Reuters interview gave Mr Obama a chance to try to pre-emptively blunt the impact of Mr Netanyahu's address to Congress, which will be closely watched.
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