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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (R) holds a joint press briefing with US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel in Jerusalem, May 16, 2014..(Photo by: HAIM TZACH/GPO)
Netanyahu to Hagel: Israel not surprised by new report on Iranian missile work
Hagel stresses that Israel-US relations are at "an all-time high"; PM calls on int'l community to prevent Iran's ayatollahs from "winning."
(Video: Matty Stern/US Embassy Tel Aviv)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Friday that Israel was not surprised by a new UN report that said Iran has been pursuing ballistic missiles capabilities.
Netanyahu said that the report shows that Iran was trying to deceive the international community.

"I wasn't surprised and I'm sure you weren't surprised by the UN report," Netanyahu said during a joint press briefing in Jerusalem with US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.

The new report by the UN Panel of Experts said Iran's overall attempts to illicitly procure materials for its banned nuclear and missile program appear to have slowed down as it pursues negotiations with world powers that it hopes will bring an end to sanctions.

But the same report makes clear that, apart from holding off on test-firing one type of rocket, Iran shows no sign of putting the brakes on the expansion of its missile program.

Netanyahu called on the six world powers engaged in negotiations with Iran to present a firm and clear policy on Tehran's disputed nuclear program guided by the principle of preventing a "win" for the Islamic Republic's ruling ayatollahs.

During the press conference with Netanyahu, Hagel reiterated the Obama administration's commitment to deterring Iran from gaining nuclear weapons capabilities.

The US defense chief stressed that American support for Israel is currently at "an all-time high."

"America's commitment to Israel's security is resolute," Hagel stated.

"The United States' support for Israel is anchored in our nations' commitment to democracy and freedom", Hagel said.

Turning to the Palestinian issue, Netanyahu expressed his concern over the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation agreement.

Netanyahu said that the Fatah leadership in Ramallah has continued to take measures toward forming a unity government with Hamas, which the US has designated as a terrorist organization.

"I think the Palestinians have to make a simple choice, a pact with Hamas or peace with Israel, but they can't have both," Netanyahu asserted.

The premier also said that anti-Semitic incitement in the Palestinian territories was another factor that hindered peace.

"We're concerned too that in both Gaza and in the PA-controlled areas, there is continual incitement and propaganda against the very existence of the Jewish state," he said, noting a recent Anti-Defamation League report that found high levels of of anti-Semitism in Palestinian society. 

Reuters contributed to this report.

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