Israel to boycott Iran's U.N. speech

Sept. 24, 2013 at 7:34 AM
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NEW YORK, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Official Israeli representatives attending the United Nations General Assembly said they will boycott Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's speech Tuesday.

Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said he and Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor will not be present when Rouhani speaks, reported Tuesday.

Steinitz and Prosor were waiting instructions on whether to leave the auditorium prior to Rouhani's speech or stay away altogether, the Israeli news website said.

Steinitz said meetings with European foreign ministers in recent weeks indicated they expect the Iranian president to show action on the nation's nuclear program, not just rhetoric.

"British Foreign Secretary [William] Hague also stated he is not impressed by Rouhani's rhetoric," Steinitz said. "He [Hague] said European diplomats are waiting for Rouhani's address to see if he is just declaring his desire for a dialogue, or is actually willing to implement the Security Council resolutions," Steinitz told the Israeli website.

Netanyahu, meanwhile, is expected to tell the West not to be fooled by Iran's conciliatory attitude when he speaks, officials said.

"Just like North Korea before it, Iran professes to seemingly peaceful intentions. It talks the talk of non-proliferation while seeking to ease sanctions and buy more time for its nuclear program," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to say in his upcoming U.N. speech Oct. 1. The Jerusalem Post reported it had received excerpts of the prime minister's speech from an Israeli official.

Netanyahu is also expected to call on the international community to learn from mistakes made with North Korea, which became a nuclear power by 2007 despite engaging in diplomatic negotiations with the West, the newspaper said.

Israeli officials have said they believe U.S. optimism concerning Iran is premature and the Islamic Republic should be judged on its deeds, not words, the newspaper said.

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