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World sympathetic to Iranian protesters - Netanyahu

world Updated: Jun 21, 2009 19:58 IST

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday the world was sympathetic to Iranian election protesters but added it was unclear whether the unrest would spur change in Tehran's policies.

"I have no doubt everybody in the world is sympathetic to the Iranians' desire for freedom," Netanyahu said on NBC's "Meet the Press" when asked about the street demonstrations that have erupted in Iran since the disputed June 12 election.

"I think it's too early to say what will transpire in Iran and on the international stage," said Netanyahu, who spoke from Israel. He reiterated Israel's position that Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

Israel, believed by experts to possess the only atomic arsenal in the Middle East, sees Iran's nuclear development as a threat, due in part to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's calls for the Jewish state to be destroyed.

Israeli leaders have avoided taking sides publicly over the anti-government demonstrations in Iran, which were triggered by official results showing Ahmadinejad winning re-election by a wide margin over his main challenger.