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Netanyahu calls at U.N. for world to act on Iran

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday linked Israel’s willingness to take risks for peace to world action to curb Iran’s nuclear program and Islamist fundamentalism.

“The most urgent challenge facing this body today is to prevent the tyrants of Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu told the U.N. General Assembly. He cited dangers inherent in “the marriage of religious fundamentalism and weapons of mass destruction.”

Netanyahu did not say what action Israel might take should the international community fail to halt what the West believes is an Iranian march toward a nuclear bomb.

The Israeli leader, speaking two days after an inconclusive summit with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and U.S. President Barack Obama, also gave no details about moves Israel might make to help revive formal peace talks.

“We want peace and I believe that with goodwill and with hard work such a peace can be achieved,” Netanyahu said.

“But it requires from all of us to roll back the forces of terror led by Iran that seek to destroy peace, that seek to eliminate Israel and to overthrow the world order,” he said.

Netanyahu condemned last week’s report by the U.N. Human Rights Council which said both the Israeli army and Palestinian militants had committed war crimes during Israel’s 22-day offensive in the Gaza Strip in December and January.

Describing the findings of the Goldstone commission as a travesty, he said the document did not bode well for the U.N.’s ability to help persuade Iran to halt uranium enrichment.

“The jury is still out on the United Nations and recent signs are not encouraging. Rather than condemning the terrorists and their Iranian patrons, some here in the United Nations have condemned their victims,” he said.

Editing by Alan Elsner