Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on Monday called Hamas and the group known as the Islamic State “branches of the same poisonous tree,” and he said Iran was the most dangerous country in the world.
Mr. Netanyahu, in an address to the United Nations General Assembly, said that just as the world would never allow Islamic State extremists to gain control of centrifuges for enriching uranium or a heavy-water nuclear reactor, it would be equally dangerous to allow Iran to possess either.
It was a familiar theme of Mr. Netanyahu’s tenure — that Iran’s nuclear program is the greatest threat to the security of Israel and the world.
“Iran’s nuclear weapons capability must be fully dismantled,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “To defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war.”
His use of the term “threshold power” was significant because President Obama has said that he would stop Iran from building a weapon, but he has avoided the question of whether or not the United States could accept an Iranian nuclear program on the cusp of weapons capability. In recent weeks, Israeli officials have said the Obama administration’s willingness to agree to some nuclear capability for Iran is dangerous.
Mr. Netanyahu made only passing reference to the continuing nuclear negotiations between Iran and world powers. He was clearly distancing himself from Mr. Obama’s pursuit of a negotiated settlement, which would leave Iran with some form of nuclear production capacity. Tehran says its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.
Mr. Netanyahu offered few details on the way forward in peace talks with the Palestinians, except to reject charges of “genocide” leveled last week by the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas.
The 50-day war in Gaza ended with a fragile truce last month, and Mr. Abbas said last week said that it was “naïve” to return to peace talks.
Mr. Netanyahu went on to say he could not agree to pulling back from territories that could become havens for militants that threaten Israel’s security.
Dennis Ross, a former chief United States negotiator for the Arab-Israeli conflict, said on Monday in a speech at the Washington Institute that the gulf between Israel and the Palestinians was now “wider than I’ve ever seen it.’’
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