Israel's prime minister on Tuesday said the risk of an armed clash with Iran would increase if world leaders grant Tehran premature relief from punitive steps over its disputed atomic activities, USA Today reported.
"Iran wants to be in position to rush forward and build nuclear bombs before the world can prevent it," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a U.N. General Assembly speech. Conciliatory gestures by Tehran have been a "ruse" to delay further steps against its atomic work, he said.
Israel, the United States and other countries suspect Iran's nuclear program is geared toward development of an arms capacity. Tehran insists the initiative is strictly nonmilitary in nature.
Earlier on Tuesday, Iran's top diplomat accused Netanyahu of employing deceptive tactics in a bid to place unjustified international pressure on the Persian Gulf nation, the Associated Press reported.
"This is his nature, to lie," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said before the Israeli leader delivered his U.N. remarks.
"Over the past 22 years, the regime, Israel, has been saying Iran will have nuclear arms in six months," Zarif added. "The continuation of this game, in fact, is based on lying, deception, incitement and harassment."