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Netanyahu urges Obama to keep Iran sanctions in place

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday urged U.S. President Barack Obama to keep economic sanctions on Iran in place in a bid to ease Israeli concerns about Washington's diplomatic engagement with Tehran over its disputed nuclear program.

"If diplomacy is to work, those pressures must be kept in place, " Netanyahu said after a meeting with Obama at the White House.

"I think that they (the pressures on economy) should not be lessened until there is verifiable success," he said, adding that if the diplomatic solution failed, sanctions should be strengthened.

Netanyahu insisted that the bottom line is to ensure that "Iran fully dismantles its military nuclear program."

Obama said both he and Netanyahu believe that it is the " extraordinary sanctions" put in place over the past several years that make the Iranians now prepared to negotiate.

"We have to test diplomacy. We have to see if, in fact, they are serious about their willingness to abide by international norms and international law and international requirements and resolutions," Obama said.

Obama reiterated that he will take no options off the table, including military options, in terms of making sure there's no nuclear weapons in Iran.

Prior to his departure to the Untied States, Netanyahu said on Saturday that Iran is using the diplomatic approach as a tactic to "fool" the West while it continues to enrich uranium, adding that he was going to "expose the truth" of Iran's "sweet talk" and " onslaught of smiles."

Netanyahu's visit came just three days after Obama and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani sent out olive branches to each other through a phone conversation, the first between the two countries' presidents for more than 30 years.

Obama and Netanyahu also discussed the issues over Syria, Palestine and Egypt.

On Syria, Obama said the two sides shared belief that they have to "move with speed and dispatch in actually making sure that the agreement that was arrived at in the United Nations is followed through."

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on Friday in a bid to rid the war-torn Syria of chemical weapons.

Obama also commended Netanyahu for entering into "good-faith negotiations" with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Obama said they both shared deep concerns about what has happened in Egypt and committed to a constructive relationship with Egypt.

After his meeting with Obama in Washington, Netanyahu will deliver a speech on Tuesday at the United Nations.

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