US, Israel 'share goal' to stop Iran nukes

The United States and Israel "share the goal" of stopping Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, a US official said late Thursday after top level talks in New York.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met for 75 minutes one-on-one with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, only hours after the Israeli leader called for the international community to impose a "red line" on Tehran to stop it enriching enough uranium to make a nuclear bomb.

"They had an in-depth discussion on Iran, and reaffirmed that the United States and Israel share the goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," a senior State Department official said in a terse statement.

"They agreed that we will continue our close consultation and cooperation toward achieving that goal."

The Israeli leader earlier caused a stir by presenting a cartoonish diagram of a bomb with three different levels on it, and a red line, during his speech to the UN General Assembly.

"The hour is getting late, very late," Netanyahu warned in his speech.

"At this late hour, there is only one way to peacefully prevent Iran from getting atomic bombs -- and that's by placing a clear red line on Iran's nuclear weapons program," he declared.

"To be credible, a red line must be drawn first and foremost in one vital part of their program -- on Iran's efforts to enrich uranium."

He then preceded to draw a red line through his cartoon bomb at that threshold, completing the second stage with uranium enriched at 90 percent.

The US official added that the two leaders "discussed regional developments and the peace process. It was an open, wide-ranging constructive conversation."

But ties between Israel and the United States have nosedived in recent weeks as Netanyahu has met stiff resistance from Washington to set "red lines" for Iran on the nuclear issue.

US President Barack Obama vowed in his address to the United Nations on Tuesday that he would prevent Iran from getting the bomb. But his administration has repeatedly rejected publicly imposing a specific red line on Tehran.

by Henry Orrego © 2012 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: Sep 28, 2012