Netanyahu heads to U.S. to challenge Iran’s charm offensive

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has left for New York early Sunday in a bid to challenge Iran’s diplomatic charm blitz last week.

“I intend to tell the truth in the face of the sweet talk and charm offensive of Iran” Israeli public radio quoted him as saying as he boarded the plane at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport, Agence France Presse reported.

“Telling the truth at this time is essential for world peace and security and, of course, for Israel's security,” he was quoted as saying by the agency.

Netanyahu earlier this week described Iranian President Hassan Rowhani's speech to the United Nations General Assembly as “cynical” and “full of hypocrisy.”

The Israeli PM will meet U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday then return to New York to address the General Assembly on Tuesday, AFP reported.

Netanyahu along Western countries suspect that Iran's nuclear program is designed to build a nuclear weapon.

Iran denies the charge and in his U.N. address Rowhani said that “nuclear weapons... have no place in Iran's security and defence doctrine.”

Rowhani had a 15-minute telephone conversation with U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday, the first contact between leaders of the two countries in more than three decades.

Israeli media said that Netanyahu had instructed his ministers and senior officials not to comment on the call, according to AFP.

(With AFP)