US's Iran policy not harsh enough: Israel
Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon
A senior Israeli official has slammed US President Barack Obama's administration for its policies toward Iran, alleging that "election-year considerations" lay behind its refusal to impose 'tougher' sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
“In the United States, the Senate passed a resolution by a majority of 100-to-one, to impose these sanctions, and in the US administration there is hesitation for fear of oil prices rising this year, out of election-year considerations," Ha'aretz quoted Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon as saying Sunday on the Israeli Radio.
He added, "In that regard, this is certainly a disappointment, for now."
US President Barack Obama on December 31, 2011 signed into law economic sanctions against Iran's Central Bank in an apparent bid to punish foreign companies and banks that do business with the Iranian financial institution.
The bill requires foreign financial firms to make a choice between doing business with Iran's Central Bank and oil sector or with the US financial sector.
The legislation will not take effect for six months in a bid to provide oil markets with time to adjust.
Energy experts say the sanctions could lead to a major hike in crude oil prices.
Meanwhile, Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz on Sunday called for stronger Iran sanctions to force the country to limit its nuclear program. He also warned that Tehran should know all options regarding its atomic capabilities are “on the table.”
"Sanctions must be tightened, the sanctions are already burdening the Iranians and they should be tightened further. And of course the world and the Americans should keep, that the Iranians will seriously understand that, all options are on the table. This will surely make them think twice," Steinitz said in al-Quds (Jerusalem).
Despite the widely publicized claims by the US, the Israeli regime and some of their European allies that Iran's nuclear program may include a military diversion, Iran steadfastly insists that its nuclear program has a merely civilian nature. Tehran argues that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
This is while the Israeli regime is widely known to possess over 200 nuclear warheads. Furthermore, Tel Aviv refuses to allow its nuclear facilities to come under international regulatory inspectors and rejects signing any international nuclear regulatory agreements.
The IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence indicating that Tehran's civilian nuclear program has been diverted to nuclear weapons production.