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Hollande, Netanyahu Want Firmer Sanctions On Iran


French President Francois Hollande says he wants proof that Iran has abandoned military nuclear research.
French President Francois Hollande says he favors "other sanctions" if Iran fails to prove with "concrete acts and gestures" that it's not pursuing nuclear arms.

Speaking at a joint news conference in Paris with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Hollande said he wanted proof that Iran has abandoned military nuclear research.

Noting that several rounds of sanctions have been approved by the UN Security Council over Iran's nuclear program, Hollande said: "We are ready to vote for more. As many as are necessary, telling Iran that we want concrete acts and gestures that could convince the entire world and the [UN nuclear watchdog] IAEA that it is giving up its research through the dismantling of its stocks."

Iran rejects Israeli and Western suspicions it is pursuing nuclear arms.

Netanyahu was on a two-day visit to France, a permanent member of the UN Security Council and one of the six world powers involved in nuclear talks with Iran.

Netanyahu thanked France for its stance on the issue, and cautioned that current international sanctions, while putting more pressure on Iran, have failed to stop its atomic research.

"I want to commend you for the strong position -- France's position -- for very tough and even tougher sanctions against Iran. I think this is very, very important," Netanyahu said.

"The sanctions are taking a bite out of Iran's economy. But as I said to you, today they have not stopped the Iranian program."

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was quoted as saying an immediate confrontation was averted when Israel learned that Tehran decided to divert one-third of its medium-enriched uranium to civilian use earlier this year.

Barak told Britain's "The Daily Telegraph" newspaper that the move could delay the "moment of truth" by just "eight to 10 months."

Israeli politicians have threatened a preemptive military strike to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Hollande has supported a push for tougher European Union sanctions, but has opposed Netanyahu's talk of possible military action against Tehran.

Hollande also urged Israel and the Palestinians to resume peace talks without any conditions.

Talks have been suspended for over two years, with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas refusing to negotiate as long as Israel continues to build and approve new Jewish settlements.

With reporting by AP and AFP
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