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Clinton concludes visit in Israel with warning against Iran, calls for resumed peace process

(Xinhua)

08:45, July 17, 2012

JERUSALEM, July 16 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton concluded her visit in Israel Monday night with a renewed warning over Iran's disputed nuclear program and calls for Israelis and Palestinians to restart their stalled peace talks.

Speaking to reporters here after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Clinton reiterated the warning that the U.S. government will employ all its force to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear arms.

Iran is under unprecedented pressure due to the efforts of the international community, she said, adding that the United States will "use all elements of American power" to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

"Iran's leaders still have the opportunity to make the right decision. The choice is ultimately Iran's," said Clinton, who landed in Israel Sunday night for her first visit to the country in over 20 months.

Iran's controversial nuclear program was one of the main topics during Clinton's meetings with Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders, including President Shimon Peres and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

The United States, Israel and some other Western nations have long suspected that Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons, while Iran denies the charges and insists its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.

"We have our common effort to make sure that Iran not achieve its ambition of developing nuclear weapons," said Netanyahu in public remarks prior to his meeting with Clinton.

Observers here believe one of the aims for Clinton's visit is to repeat U.S. persuasion to the Israeli government against launching a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

Israel has threatened to launch a military operation on Iran's nuclear facilities if the multilateral talks on Iran's nuclear issue fail, while Washington hopes to use sanctions to bring Tehran to heel.

Other topics dominating Clinton's whirlwind visit include the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the drastic changes in Egypt 's political landscape.


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