Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu said today that any easing of economic sanctions against Iran is ill-advised, and pressure need to be increased to stop its nuclear program.
“I think the pressure has to be maintained on Iran, even increased on Iran, until Iran actually stops “making nuclear weapons, Netanyahu said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “The question is not of hope. The question is of actual result. The result has to be the full dismantling of Iran’s military nuclear program.”
He said the sanctions were put in place for three specific reasons: Iran’s terrorist actions; its aggression in the Persian Gulf; and its pursuit to produce weapons of mass destruction.
“I propose sticking by that,” Netanyahu said. “That’s the way to peacefully end Iran’s nuclear-weapons program.”
Despite Netanyahu’s warnings, there are growing signs that any international deal with Iran will fall short of his demands.
Over the weekend, U.S. officials said the White House was debating whether to offer Iran the chance to recoup billions of dollars in frozen assets if it scales back its nuclear program. The plan would stop short of lifting sanctions, but could nonetheless provide Iran some relief.
In an interview broadcast Sunday on NBC, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said it was “premature” to talk of easing sanctions. But he stopped short of endorsing the tough Israeli line and suggested the U.S. would take a more incremental approach in response to concrete Iranian gestures.
Asked whether he was worried the U.S. might ease the sanctions prematurely, Netanyahu urged against a “partial deal” with Iran. “I don’t advise doing that,” he said on “Meet the Press.”
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