/ 19 April 2012

Israel demands immediate effect of Iran sanctions

Israel’s deputy foreign minister has called for stringent international sanctions against Iran to be brought forward to take immediate effect.

Danny Ayalon said no further leeway should be given to the Iranians, and that an EU embargo on Iranian oil and additional tougher sanctions, due to take effect from July 1, should begin now.

Speaking to foreign media in Jerusalem, Ayalon said: “If there is one thing the Iranians pay attention to, it is additional sanctions. July 1 for them is something they will try to avoid almost at any price. So if we advance July 1 to now, I think there is a good chance to get a positive effect in Iran, and I believe that would have a good effect on any future dialogues with them.”

Ayalon would not be drawn on how much time the additional sanctions would need to be given to show an impact but said: “There is a toll on the Iranian economy and political stability, and we know there is also some split in Iran on how to proceed.

“I think we should signal to them that they will benefit if they stop their activities now. And the best way to signal this is to advance the sanctions — They’re already suffering the consequences of the sanctions that have been put on them, but additional sanctions would have a much larger effect; it’s not just incremental, it’s going to be almost a quantum leap.”

‘Change in paradigm’
Ayalon said Israel saw no “change in the paradigm” in the wake of talks between the P5+1 countries (the five permanent members of the UN security council plus Germany) and Iran in Istanbul last weekend. “Nothing has changed. The danger is that the Iranians will continue to con the world.”

In an interview with Army Radio, the defence minister, Ehud Barak, said he did not believe that negotiations with Iran would bear fruit, and that Israel had made no pledge to Washington to refrain from a military attack while talks continued.

Meanwhile, the deputy prime minister, Dan Meridor, acknowledged in a television interview that Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had never promised to “wipe Israel off the map”, contrary to repeated claims.

“They didn’t say ‘We’ll wipe it out’, but ‘It will not survive, it is a cancerous tumour, it should be removed’. They repeatedly said ‘Israel is not legitimate, it should not exist’,” Meridor told al-Jazeera.

In 2005, Ahmadinejad quoted the leader of the 1979 Islamic revolution as saying Israel “must vanish from the page of time”, but his remarks were widely mistranslated. —