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France will stay 'tough' on Iran, Hollande soothes Netanyahu

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

France will remain "tough" with Iran on its controversial nuclear programme, President Francois Hollande reassured Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday after the Israeli premier warned Paris of succumbing to the charms of Tehran.

The French president told Netanyahu in a telephone call that France would wait to see if the more moderate politics of Iran's new leader Hassan Rouhani, who replaced hardline Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in June, would translate in his "actions", the Elysee palace said.

In an interview with the television channel France24 on Thursday, Netanyahu urged France to be tough on Iran "with or without Rouhani's smiles".

His comments came after a historic handshake between the French and Iranian leaders on the fringes of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last month.

"If they really wanted to dismantle their nuclear weapons programme, they'd come out with it," Netanyahu told France24.

Iran will meet with six world powers next week over its nuclear programme which the West believes is being used to develop a nuclear bomb, a claim Tehran denies.

Rouhani wants sanctions imposed by the West on his country lifted and has indicated he favours a quick deal to end a stalemate to talks on the nuclear programme which have dragged on for eight years.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131011/france-will-stay-tough-iran-hollande-soothes-netanyahu