Israeli intelligence services will help the United States reinstate sanctions against Iran, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said on Monday as Tehran, the European Union and China pushed back against the economic actions.
“Israel must continue to act so that Iran will feel the full force of the American sanctions, and so that the European countries will change their hypocritical position, support the mistaken nuclear agreement and join the sanctions regime,” Erdan said.
On Monday, the Trump Administration snapped back into place US sanctions that were lifted under a 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by the administration of President Barack Obama
and five other world powers; China, Russia, Germany, Britain and France.
President Donald Trump’s administration has expanded those sanctions, adding 300 new designations including Iran’s oil, shipping, insurance and banking sectors, aiming to cripple Iran’s main export revenues from the petroleum industry.
The sanctions cover 50 Iranian banks and subsidiaries, more than 200 persons and vessels in its shipping sector, and targets Tehran’s national airline, Iran Air, and more than 65 of its aircraft, a White House statement said.
Other signatories to the Iran deal have said they will continue to trade with Tehran and abide by the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the US sanctions were “backfiring,” making Washington more isolated, not the Islamic Republic.
“Today, US defied UN top court and Security Council by reimposing sanctions on Iran that target ordinary people. But US bullying is backfiring.... The US – and not Iran – is isolated.” Zarif said in a tweet.
“But US bullying is backfiring, not just because JCPOA is important, but because the world can’t allow Trump & Co. to destroy global order,” he wrote.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who opposed the Iran deal and always said it was a mistake to lift the sanctions, has welcomed the US decision to reinstate them.
Erdan said Israel will be actively involved in helping the US enforce those sanctions.
“The State of Israel will continue to assist the US in enforcing the sanctions in the most comprehensive manner, and also to help it expose through our intelligence capabilities all attempts by the regime and the Revolutionary Guards to deceive and circumvent the sanctions,” Erdan said.
“We will also continue our determined efforts to thwart Iran’s attempts to establish itself in Syria, its attempts to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah, and of course, as recently revealed, Iran’s attempts to carry out attacks in Western Europe.
“I believe that after we helped expose the Iranian terror plot in Denmark, this too will bring many European governments to start to wake up and wake up of all their illusions.
“These governments are beginning to realize that despite their efforts to create bypass mechanisms —which simply put are a moral crime — to help Iran bypass the US sanctions, all European companies understand the message and decide to leave Iran,” Erdan added.
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon called on the world to stand with the US and support the sanctions.
“Wherever there is terrorism, there is also an Iranian fingerprint,” Danon said. “Therefore, Europe and other countries must join the United States in order to create a united front for the stability of the Middle East and the world at large. From today, the world will have to choose a side – the US or Iran.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying on Monday said her country opposed the sanctions.
“China consistently rejects unilateral sanctions and long-arm tactics. We think China and Iran carrying out normal cooperation under the framework of international law is lawful and reasonable, and [this right] should be respected and protected,” Hua said.
“We regret the reimposition of sanctions by the US We continue to believe that the Iran nuclear deal makes the world a safer place and our position remains that as long as Iran continues to meet its obligations under the deal by respecting strict limits on its nuclear activity, we will be committed to it too.”
The European Union agreed with China, as did the United Kingdom.
“As long as Iran continues to meet its obligations under the deal by respecting strict limits on its nuclear activity, we will be committed to it too,” a spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May said.
“As such we continue to fully support expanding our trade relationship with Iran and encourage UK businesses to take advantage of commercial opportunities that arise.”
German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said his country was checking how to protect companies affected by the sanctions.
“We are assessing how we will be able to protect the basis of our business engagements there,” Seibert said.
Washington has pledged to completely stop purchases of crude oil from Iran eventually, but for now it said eight countries – China, India, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Greece, Taiwan and Turkey – can continue imports for now without penalty. Crude exports contribute one-third of Iran’s government revenues.
The exemptions are designed to last up to 180 days.
US officials have said the countries given temporary exemptions from the sanctions will deposit Iran’s revenue in escrow accounts, and Tehran will be able to use the funds for humanitarian purposes.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman praised the re-introduction of US sanctions on Iran, calling the move a “critical blow” to Iran’s presence in the Middle East.
“President Trump’s bold decision is the sea-change the Middle East has been waiting for. In a single move, the United States is dealing a critical blow to Iran’s entrenchment in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq and Yemen. President Trump, you’ve done it again! Thank you,” Liberman wrote in English on Twitter.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett also took to Twitter to praise the move.
“President Donald Trump, Thank you for Making the Ayatollahs Scared Again,” Bennett wrote, using wordplay on Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
Jerusalem Post Staff contributed to this report.
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