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White House says different strategies needed on N. Korea, Iran

All Headlines 04:48 September 24, 2013

By Lee Chi-dong

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 (Yonhap) -- The White House said Monday the international community needs to take different approaches toward North Korea and Iran with regard to their nuclear programs.

Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, pointed out that, unlike Iran, North Korea has already developed nuclear weapons and conducted tests.

"That's all the more reason why we need to take steps to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, so that we're not presented with the type of situation that we have in North Korea where you're seeking to denuclearize a country that has already crossed that threshold," he told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to New York.

President Barack Obama left for New York Monday to attend the 68th session of the U.N. General Assembly.

Rhodes was responding to a news report that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will use his speech at the U.N. meeting to compare Iran's ongoing diplomatic overture to North Korea's peace offensive before its nuclear test.

Netanyahu plans to detail the history of failed diplomacy on North Korea's nuclear program in a bid to underscore the risk of dealing diplomatically with Iran's nuclear development, a Israeli official was quoted as telling The New York Times.

Rhodes said there is a simple similarity between North Korea and Iran in that both the nations have not abided by international nonproliferation norms.

He said handling the Iranian issue may be easier than the North Korea one as Teheran has not acquire a nuclear weapon yet.

"That's why we've also held open the door to a diplomatic resolution, so that we can achieve a resolution to this issue that prevents Iran from getting a nuclear weapon while allowing them access to peaceful nuclear power consistent with the nonproliferation obligations," Rhodes said.

Global attention is being paid to the possibility of bilateral talks between Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the U.N. session this week.

lcd@yna.co.kr

leechidong@gmail.com
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