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Clinton: U.S. and Israel aim to 'build the pressure' on Iran

Both the U.S. and Israel are willing to do whatever is necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says she'd prefer to use diplomacy. Economic sanctions are currently in place. 

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Both Israel and the U.S. say they reserve the right to attack Iran to prevent it from obtaining nuclear arms, but Washington has leaned on Israel to be patient while newly tightened economic sanctions have an impact and negotiations run their course.

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Tighter Sanctions 

Obama has imposed much tighter sanctions this year on countries that do business with Iran, and the European Union has imposed an embargo on Iranian oil that took effect on July 1.

Netanyahu told Clinton, in public remarks before they met behind closed doors: "We have our common effort to make sure that Iran not achieve its ambition of developing nuclear weapons."

Wrapping up a visit to Asia and the Middle East that included talks in Egypt, Clinton tried to assuage Israeli concerns about Arab world revolts that have toppled regimes, bringing Islamists to power in some countries, such as Egypt.

Clinton urged Israel also see the Arab Spring as an opportunity, telling President Shimon Peres that "it is in moments like these that friends like us have to think together, act together. We are called to be smart, creative and courageous".

"It is a time of uncertainty but also of opportunity. It is a chance to advance our shared goal of security, stability, peace and democracy along with prosperity for the millions of people in this region who have yet to see a better future," she said.

She urged Egypt's new president Mohamed Mursi, of the long-banned Muslim Brotherhood, to respect a 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, describing it as a bedrock of regional stability.

Netanyahu, speaking at Clinton's side, said Egypt "has been an anchor of peace and maintaining the peace treaty between us, I think, is something that is uppermost in both our minds".

The 22-month gap from Clinton's last visit to Israel, before U.S.-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians deadlocked in 2010, reflected the absence of progress on that front.

The talks froze after Netanyahu rejected Palestinian demands that he extend a partial freeze on settlement construction that he had introduced at Washington's behest.

Clinton also met Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who made no public remarks.

Netanyahu told Clinton "we have to invest every effort to maintain the tranquility and see if we can move the process forward" with the Palestinians. But few diplomats expect any breakthrough before the U.S. presidential election.

(Writing by Allyn Fisher-Ilan; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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