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Iran and Israel cross swords at Davos

Published on Jan 23, 2014 11:10 PM

DAVOS, Switzerland (AFP) - Iran on Thursday stepped up attempts to normalise its relations with the West with a Davos charm offensive that was immediately attacked by Israeli as a confidence trick.

On a visit to the Swiss resort aimed at enticing international investors back to Iran, President Hassan Rouhani told the World Economic Forum his government was sincere in its desire for a new relationship based on mutual trust and a rebuilding of economic ties that have been shattered by international sanctions.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the West not to take the media-friendly Iranian's offer at face value, insisting there was no concrete evidence of any fundamental change in the nature of the Islamic regime.

"Hassan Rouhani can say something but it doesn't make it real," Mr Netanyahu said. "It's false." He said the Iranian president's claim that Tehran wanted to promote stability and security in the Middle East had "no connection with what is going on on the ground," notably in Syria, where he said Iranian Revolutionary Guards and its Hezbollah allies were fighting and killing alongside government forces.

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