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June 20, 2013 8:08 am

Netanyahu to EU’s Ashton: Iran’s ‘Feet Should be Held to the Fire’

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Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Catherine Ashton in Jerusalem, June 19, 2013. Photo: Israel GPO.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in a meeting Thursday that Iran must cease its nuclear enrichment, remove its already enriched nuclear material, and shut down its nuclear facility in Qom.

Netanyahu further told Ashton that Europe should join the United States, Israel and “all responsible elements of the international community,” in demanding a cessation of the Iranian nuclear program.

“These are Security Council resolutions.  Their feet should be held to the fire.  It’s not a question of style, but substance.  It’s not a question of political spin, but the spinning of centrifuges,” he told her.

Netanyahu also pushed Ashton on Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah, and its role in the region, voicing his hope that the EU would designate the terror organization as such.

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“If Hezbollah isn’t a terrorist organization, I don’t know what is a terrorist organization. I mean, they’re butchering people left and right across the world and now in the cities of Syria,” he said.

Netanyahu also addressed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent efforts towards the resumption of peace talks in the region, telling Ashton “That’s the right thing to do.  Israel is ready to resume these talks without preconditions today, yesterday and tomorrow.”

In response to Netanyahu’s concerns over Iran and Hezbollah, Ashton told the Prime Minister she recognizes  “that it’s important that we consult with those who have a deep interest in this and that we have a chance to think about the broader region…”

She added she appreciates that it is  “vital” that Israel is confident about its security, considering the threats it faces in the region.

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