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Israel says West must treat Iran like Libya

March 1, 2011 8:07 P.M. (Updated: March 1, 2011 8:07 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday called on the West to impose on Iran the same tough measures it is putting in place against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

"If the international community is applying special pressure on Libya and warning its leader and soldiers against violating civil rights, the same warning must be aimed at Iran's leaders and their henchmen," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu said both countries were "serial violators of human rights."

Israel has repeatedly called for tougher international steps against its arch-foe Iran. Animosity between the countries has grown under the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has repeatedly spoken of Israel's demise.

The international community has imposed tough sanctions on Libya and frozen the assets of Gadhafi and his family in the wake of violence against pro-democracy demonstrations across the country.

They have also positioned naval and air forces around Libya, as Western countries weigh possible military intervention and imposing a no-fly zone.

"At the same time as Gadhafi is massacring his opponents in Libya, the regime of the ayatollahs in Iran is systematically executing its opponents," Netanyahu said.

His comments came on a day when Iranian security forces reportedly fired tear gas in Tehran clashes with anti-government protesters demanding the release of two opposition leaders.

"I believe that a firm reaction will send a very clear message of encouragement and hope to the Iranian people, that no one has forgotten their struggle for freedom and liberty," the Israeli leader said.
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