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Netanyahu Heads to UN: I Will Tell the Truth Amid Iran's Sweet-talk

Foreign Affairs chairman in Knesset defies directive to refrain from media comment on Obama's phone call with Rohani: 'The Iranians have tended to behave deceptively for years'

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in New York Sunday morning, ahead of his speech at the United Nations General Assembly.

Before departing Israel, Netanyahu said he would present the truth to the United Nations amid a mass of sweet-talking.

"I will present our rights as a nation, our determination to defend ourselves and our hopes for peace. I will speak the truth. Facts must be stated in the face of the sweet talk and the blitz of smiles."

Netanyahu, who is expected to meet U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday, added, "I think that telling the truth today is essential to the security of the world and essential to the security of our state."

Upon arrival in New York, Netanyahu's entourage commented on the recent arrest of an alleged Iranian spy. "At the same time as it condemns terrorism on American soil, Iran sends an agent to collect intelligence for a possible attack on a U.S. embassy," Israeli officials reportedly said.

The officials reportedly added that the arrest serves as further evidence that statements coming out of Iran do not match the criminal actions they take, and that the Islamic Republic continues to generate terrorism throughout the world.

Before departing Israel, Netanyahu instructed government ministers and official spokesmen on Saturday not to give interviews or issue public statements regarding the phone call between Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rohani, or on the Iranian issue in general.

Netanyahu's instructions were aimed at avoiding gaffes by ministers or official spokesmen such as criticism of Obama or U.S. foreign policy before his meeting with Obama at the White House.

Despite that, Avigdor Lieberman, chairman of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, wrote Sunday morning on his Facebook page that he supports Netanyahu "on his departure for an important mission."

"While the world's attention is centered on the Iranian president's attempts to be portrayed as moderate and placatory, it is important to remember that the Iranians have tended throughout the years to behave deceptively for years: with various tactics of promises, stalling and with false information that they have presented time after time to the international community, while continuing all the while to advance toward the goal they set for themselves: to obtain nuclear weapons that are intended to threaten world peace."

"Rohani's placatory offensive," Lieberman continued, "is nothing but another deceitful trick similar to that of North Korea."

Lieberman also wrote in his Facebook comment that "it is also worth remembering that in the case of the Iraqi reactor in the early 1980s, Israel was the only one to warn, and in retrospect it became evident that we were right. And so it was in other cases, too."

Netanyahu departed Israel overnight Saturday and is due to speak at the United Nations on Tuesday. He will spend most of the day Sunday working on his speech before the United Nations General Assembly and preparing for his meeting with Obama.

According to Reuters, Netanyahu strolled around the plane on the way to New York, joking with reporters that he had come to get his UN speech from the rear hold.

Netanyahu's schedule, released by the prime minister's office, includes only two meetings slated for Sunday – one with Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird and a meeting with Turkmenistan's Minister of Foreign Affairs Rashid Meredov. The latter is a rather unusual meeting between an Israel prime minister and a high-ranking official from the Iran-bordering Muslim country. A few years ago, Israel opened an embassy in its capital Ashgabat.

On Monday, Netanyahu will fly to Washington, where he will meet with Obama at the White House. The bulk of the meeting will be behind closed doors, and will focus on Iran. After this meeting, a luncheon will be held for the Israeli delegation and its U.S. counterpart.

After meeting with Obama, Netanyahu will meet with Vice President Joe Biden, who is scheduled to speak at the J Street conference shortly beforehand. Netanyahu will then meet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department in Washington, and before leaving for New York will take part in a parting ceremony for Ambassador Oren on Capitol Hill.

On Tuesday afternoon, Netanyahu will arrive at the United Nations headquarters in New York to give a speech before the General Assembly. Netanyahu will be the last state representative to address the UNGA. His speech will focus on Iran's nuclear program and the peace process with the Palestinians.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his wife, Sara, at Ben-Gurion International Airport.Credit: Kobi Gidon/GPO

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