Israeli Minister Encourages Reported US Plans for New Sanctions Against Iran Missile Program
Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz encouraged on Thursday reported US plans for new sanctions against Iran over its ballistic missile program.
“If this world ignores their blatant violations on this issue,” said Steinitz, referring to ballistic missile tests in Iran over the past few months that violated UN Security Council resolution 1929, “[the Iranians] will very quickly understand that they can also violate the nuclear deal.”
“They’re testing the international community,” said Steinitz, a confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s and his former point man on negotiations for the Iran nuclear deal.
“This is a ‘double test.’ On the technical level they are examining the technical capabilities of their missiles, including the maneuverability of rockets capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. But on the political level, they’re testing how much the world is really determined to respond to their violations of international agreements. Therefore, it’s important that the response in this case will be significant.”
Steinitz was responding to a Wall Street Journal report that the Obama administration was “targeting almost a dozen companies and individuals in Iran, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates” — the first sanctions against Iran since the announcement of the nuclear accord — which Israel rejected as a “bad deal” — on July 14 in Vienna.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaber Ansari meanwhile called the reported sanctions “illegal and arbitrary,” Reuters reported, claiming Iran’s missile program is unrelated to the nuclear deal.
Iran has argued that the nuclear deal only bars Iran from testing ballistic missiles that can deliver a nuclear payload, not those it claims for defensive purposes. UN sanctions against Iran’s ballistic missile tests are supposed to be lifted eight years from the implementation of the nuclear deal.