The Latest: Israeli PM praises US sanctions on Iran
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Latest on the situation in Iran after the re-imposition of all American sanctions on the country on Monday (all times local):
Israel’s prime minister is lauding the newly restored U.S. sanctions against Iran as “historic,” saying they will “strangle” what he described as Iranian state-sponsored terrorism.
Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday at parliament that the Trump administration’s decision to restore sanctions was already having an effect. He called the move “a big day for the state of Israel.”
Israel has been a fierce opponent of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal from which the U.S. withdrew this year, saying the deal didn’t rein in Iran’s regional military activities.
The new sanctions against Iran’s shipping, financial and energy sectors come into effect Monday. The U.S. says the sanctions are not aimed at toppling the government, but at persuading it to radically change its policies, including its support for regional militant groups and its development of long-range ballistic missiles.
China says it regrets the U.S. decision to re-impose sanctions on Iran but will continue to uphold the nuclear deal Beijing agreed to as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters on Monday that the accord “should be comprehensively and effectively implemented” despite the fact that the United States pulled out of it in May.
Hua says: “We regret this decision by the U.S.”
She added that the international community objects to unilateral sanctions such as those brought by the U.S.
She also said China stood with those nations that have vowed to keep the agreement alive despite the U.S. withdrawal, and said Iran has been “strictly fulfilling its obligations” under the accord.
Hua urged all sides to keep in mind “long-term interests, fulfill their obligations and responsibilities and choose to stand on the right side of history.”
Iranian officials say the country is being targeted by a cyberattack.
Telecommunication Minister Mohammad Javad Azeri Jahromi and his deputy, Hamid Fatahi, both tweeted about the attack on Monday — the same day U.S. sanctions on the country once lifted by the nuclear deal resumed.
They blamed Israel for the attack and said it targeted Iran’s communications infrastructure, without elaborating.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry declined to comment.
Iran previously faced a computer virus called Stuxnet, which destroyed thousands of centrifuges involved in Iran’s contested nuclear program in 2011. Stuxnet is widely believed to be an American and Israeli creation, though neither country has acknowledged being behind the attack.
Gen. Gholam Reza Jalali, the head of country’s military unit in charge of combatting sabotage, said last week that President Hassan Rouhani’s cellphone was tapped recently.
Iran’s foreign ministry is shrugging off the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions on Iran, saying it’s nothing new and that the country has gone through a wider range of sanctions in the past.
The ministry’s spokesman, Bahram Ghasemi, says that Iranians “have experienced more extensive sanctions” and that they are “not a new issue.”
He also called the sanctions that went into effect on Monday “fruitless” and part of the U.S. propaganda and psychological war against Iran.
He claimed the sanctions would backfire and work against the United States and that “many countries from Europe to Russia and China have opposed the sanctions.”
The sanctions end all U.S. economic benefits America granted to Tehran for its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and in particular target Iran’s vital oil industry.
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Israel’s defense minister is welcoming newly restored U.S. sanctions against Iran, saying they will deal a “critical blow” to Iran’s military presence around the Middle East.
Avigdor Lieberman said in a tweet on Monday that the Trump administration’s decision to restore sanctions “is the sea change the Middle East has been waiting for.”
Israel has been a fierce opponent of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal from which the United States withdrew this year, saying the deal didn’t rein in Iran’s regional military activities.
The new sanctions against Iran’s shipping, financial and energy sectors, come into effect Monday. The U.S. says the sanctions are not aimed at toppling the government, but at persuading it to radically change its policies, including its support for regional militant groups and its development of long-range ballistic missiles.
Iran has greeted the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions with air defense drills and an acknowledgement from President Hassan Rouhani that the nation faces a “war situation.”
The developments raise Mideast tensions as America’s maximalist approach to the Islamic Republic takes hold.
The sanctions end all the economic benefits America granted Tehran for its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, though Iran for now continues to abide by the accord that saw it limit its enrichment of uranium. While for now not threatening to resume higher enrichment, Iranian officials in recent months have made a point to threaten that could resume at any time faster than before.
The new American sanctions particularly hurt Iran’s vital oil industry, a crucial source of hard currency for its anemic economy. Its national currency has plummeted over the last year, sending prices for everything from mobile phones to medicine skyrocketing.