US President Barack Obama signed an order giving the Treasury Department more
power to go after individuals and groups who try to evade America’s sanctions
against Iran and Syria.
The Treasury said on Tuesday that the order gave
it “a new authority to tighten further the US sanctions on Iran and
“The Treasury now has the capability to publicly identify foreign
individuals and entities that have engaged in these evasive and deceptive
activities, and generally bar access to the US financial and commercial
systems,” the department stated.
On Monday, former prime minister Ehud
Olmert told CNN that he believed it was still possible to use sanctions to avert
a nuclear Iran. He made the same statements on Sunday at The Jerusalem Post
When CNN asked if he trusted Israeli leaders to make the
right decision with regard to Iran, Olmert said, “You could understand from what
I said that maybe something in my trust is lacking.”
Gideon Sa’ar called the former prime minister’s words “irresponsible” and
He said Olmert was harming Israeli interests by attacking
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government’s policy on Iran after it had
done so much to alert the international community to Tehran’s nuclear
National Security Adviser Ya’acov Amidror was in Brussels on
Tuesday holding talks with European Union officials on Iran in advance of a May
23 meeting that six powers – the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany
– will hold in Baghdad on Tehran’s nuclear program.
Israel has said that
the delay between the first and second round of talks granted Iran a further
five weeks to pursue its nuclear program.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak
cast doubt on the effectiveness of such talks.
Speaking to journalists in
Jerusalem on Monday night, the defense minister acknowledged that current
sanctions on Iran were “stronger than ever” and had forced Tehran to the
Nevertheless, he said, the recent round of
negotiations in Turkey did not fill him with confidence.
“Maybe I sound
pessimistic, but the State of Israel cannot allow itself to be cheated,” he
The defense minister argued that while an attack on Iran would be
complex and dangerous, the dangers a radical Islamic regime armed with nuclear
weapons would pose to the region and to world security would be
He also launched a veiled attack on former Shin Bet (Israel
Security Agency) head Yuval Diskin, who recently criticized him as being
“messianic” and untrustworthy to handle the Iran issue.
to “some people in the world” who have political motives, Barak said certain
individuals preferred to bury their heads in their sand.