March 2, 2012 / 5:06 PM / 8 years ago

Israel reserves right to defend itself - Netanyahu

OTTAWA, March 2 (Reuters) - In his first public comments on a North American visit that will include talks with U.S. President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Friday Israel reserved the right to defend itself against Iran.

Netanyahu will meet with Obama on Monday to address growing differences over what Washington fears could be an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear sites.

Netanyahu said the international community should not allow what he called “Iran’s relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons” to succeed.

“As for Israel, like any sovereign country, we reserve the right to defend ourselves against a country that calls and works for our destruction,” he told reporters in Ottawa at the start of a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Netanyahu wants Obama to more forcefully declare “red lines” that Iran must not cross in its nuclear program.

In an interview published on Friday, Obama used his sharpest language yet to warn Iran of his willingness to resort to military options if necessary to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Obama told the Atlantic magazine that “all options are on the table” for dealing with Iran’s nuclear plans and added that the final option was the “military component”. (Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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