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In UN speech, Netanyahu expected to repeat call for 'red lines' on Iran (+video)

Speaking before the United Nations General Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to make a case against Iran, calling for 'red lines' that will trigger a US attack on the Islamic State.

By Aron HellerAssociated Press / September 27, 2012

In this photo taken earlier this month, a visitor looks at portraits of Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the exhibition 'faces of power' by Greek photo artist Platon Antoniou, in Cologne, Germany.

Martin Meissner/AP/File

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United Nations

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will make his case against Iran before the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, arguing that time is quickly running out to stop the Islamic Republic from becoming a nuclear power and the threat of force must be seriously considered.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells NBC's Meet the Press says a policy of containment for Iran "would be wrong". Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

His demand that President Barack Obama declare "red lines" that would trigger an American attack on Iran's nuclear facilities has been rejected in Washington and sparked a public rift between the two leaders.

But a senior Israeli official in Netanyahu's entourage said the prime minister's speech will "lay a clear red line" that will not contradict Obama's words.

"Israel and the U.S. have a common goal to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. The prime minister's remarks drawing a red line will help that this is attained," the senior official said.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said this is not the first time that there have been disagreements between the positions of Israel and the United States and that this will not "in any way harm the strong friendship between the two countries."

Netanyahu claims international diplomatic efforts and economic sanctions have failed, but a new report from the Israeli Foreign Ministry, leaked Thursday, concludes that sanctions are hitting Iran hard. According to the report, details of which appeared in the Haaretz newspaper, Iran's oil exports declined by over 50 percent in the past year and sanctions on Iran'scentral bank have made it difficult for the regime to access its foreign currency.

An Israeli official confirmed the new report but refused to elaborate on it. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss internal government documents.

Netanyahu's time at the U.N. podium gives him an opportunity in front of the international community to press his case once again, perhaps in a final plea before Israel takes matters into its own hands. Israeli leaders have issued a series of warnings in recent weeks suggesting that if Iran's uranium enrichment program continues it may soon stage a unilateral military strike, flouting even American wishes.

The Obama administration has urgently sought to hold off Israeli military action, which would likely result in the U.S. being pulled into a conflict and cause region-wide mayhem on the eve of American elections.

Such an attack would almost certainly lead to retaliatory Iranian missile strikes on Israeli population centers. On Sunday, Iranian leaders suggested they may strike Israeli preemptively if they feel threatened.

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