UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday the only way to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons was by setting "a clear red line" to stop its atomic program.

"At this late hour, there is only one way to peacefully prevent Iran from getting atomic bombs and that's by placing a clear red line on Iran's nuclear weapons program," Netanyahu said in a speech at the U.N. General Assembly. "Red lines don't lead to war; red lines prevent war."

(Reporting By Jeffrey Heller, Michelle Nichols and Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Sandra Maler)