Oct 21, 2013

Israel Warns Against Easing Sanctions on Iran

Joel RosenbergBy Joel C. Rosenberg

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(Washington, D.C.)—"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday that the result of the current negotiations between Western nations and the Iranian regime must be nothing less than 'the full dismantling of Iran's military nuclear program,'" reports NBC News (To watch the interview with the Israeli premier, please click here).

Benjamin Netanyahu

Obama Administration Considering Proposal to Ease Sanctions

"Last week in Geneva, Western diplomats held two days of talks with Iran on the nuclear weapons question," noted NBC. "They called the talks detailed and serious, although no agreement seems imminent. The next round of talks will take place on Nov. 7 and 8. Netanyahu responded to a report last week in the New York Times that the Obama administration is considering a proposal to ease economic sanctions on Tehran by giving it access to billions of dollars in frozen funds if the Iranians take steps to curb their nuclear weapons development program."

"I think the pressure has to be maintained on Iran, even increased on Iran, until it actually stops the nuclear program, that is, dismantles it," Netanyahu said. He warned against "any partial deal could end up in dissolving the sanctions" since there are many countries around the world who are "just waiting for a signal to get rid of their sanctions regime" against Iran.

Excerpts from the story:

  • He made the analogy with Syria's commitment to get rid of its arsenal of chemical weapons, which international weapons inspectors are now beginning to carry out.
  • "Suppose Syria said, 'Well, you know, we're going to dismantle 20 percent of it….'" and then expected other nations to ease sanctions because of that. "Nobody would buy that," the Israeli prime minister said. "That's exactly what Iran is trying to do. They're trying to give a partial deal that they know could end up dissolving the sanctions regime and would keep them with the nuclear weapons capabilities."
  • As to Iranian assets held outside that country that are now frozen, Netanyahu said they were frozen for three reasons. "One, Iran’s terrorist actions; two, its aggressive actions particularly in the (Persian) Gulf; and three, its continued refusal to stop the production of weapons of mass destruction. You know, if you get all three done and they stop doing it, well then, I suppose you could unfreeze them," he told NBC's David Gregory.
  • Also on Meet the Press, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said it was premature "to be talking about the easing" of sanctions against Iran. "I think the sanctions were working and that's why the discussions (in Geneva) have started. But we need to see what they're going to actually do. We need to see rolling back their nuclear program. And I can tell you that when the time comes, when those movements come, any changes will have to be proportionate."
  • He added, "We need to see real, tangible evidence of it, and that we will not make moves in the sanctions until we see those kinds of moves."