PM slams Europe for not sanctioning Iran after nuclear deal breach

"Then, too, there were those who stuck their head in the sand and did not see the approaching danger," said Netanyahu.

July 16, 2019 05:09
2 minute read.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promises to do all he can to build a coalition in a press conferen

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promises to do all he can to build a coalition in a press conference Monday 27.05.2019. (photo credit: NOAM REVKIN FENTON / FLASH 90)

Europe will only “wake up” to the Iranian threat when Iranian nuclear weapons are falling on the continent, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday, lashing out at the EU for saying it will not sanction Iran for its recent breaches of the 2015 nuclear deal.

The EU’s reaction, he said, “reminds me of Europe’s appeasement in the 1930s. Then as well, there were those who buried their heads in the sand and did not see the approaching danger. Apparently, there are those in Europe who will not wake up until Iranian nuclear missiles fall on Europe. But then it will be too late.”

In any event, Netanyahu said, Israel “will continue to do everything we need to do to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.”

EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said that the five remaining parties to the Iran nuclear deal do not see Tehran’s breaches as significant non-compliance, and have not indicated any intent to trigger the accord’s dispute mechanism.

“For the time being, none of the parties to the agreement have signaled their intention to invoke this article, which means that none of them for the moment, for the time being with the current data we have had in particular from the IAEA, that the non-compliance is considered to be significant non-compliance,” Federica Mogherini told a news conference after an EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels.

The US is the only one of the six countries that negotiated and signed the deal with Iran in 2015 that has withdrawn from it. The other countries are Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China.

Under the terms of the deal, if any party believes another is not upholding their commitments, they can refer the issue to a Joint Commission, whose members are Iran, Russia, China, the three European powers and the European Union.

This begins a process that can eventually end with the restoration of global, United Nations sanctions on Iran. Mogherini said a joint commission meeting was possible, although when and at what level had yet to be decided.

Speaking after the EU foreign ministers meeting that was largely focused on Iran, Mogherini played down those prospects, suggesting that for now the bloc would focus on diplomatic efforts to defuse the crisis.

“The deal is not in good health, but it’s still alive,” Mogherini said. “We hope and we invite Iran to reverse these steps and go back to full compliance with the agreement,” she said, pointing out that they were all reversible.

Over the last few weeks, Iran has announced that it has enriched uranium at a level higher than the 3.67% cap placed on it by the deal, and that it had also had gone beyond the 300 kg. of low-enriched uranium allowed under the agreement.

Over the last month, Netanyahu has urged the Europeans to do what they said they would do if Iran violated the nuclear agreement, and that is to snap-back sanctions.

Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz also took the Europeans to task for deciding not to respond to the Iranian breaches.

“It is crucial this evening to remind our friends in Europe that Iran is a global issue threatening world peace,” he said. “Israel cannot afford a nuclear Iran – and likewise, neither can you.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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