TEL AVIV – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised President Donald Trump’s decision to reinstate U.S. sanctions on Iran as a historic turning point and called on Europe to follow suit by taking concrete action.
“This is an important moment for Israel, for the United States, for the region and for the entire world,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video released Monday, moments after Trump signed new sanctions into law.
“It symbolizes the determination to curb Iran’s regional aggression and its ongoing plans to arm itself with nuclear weapons,” added the prime minister.
Israel was mostly a voice of dissent in otherwise dissatisfied reactions to the reimposition of sanctions, in particular the European Union, which expressed “deep regret” over Trump’s move.
But Netanyahu said Europe would do better to follow the U.S. lead.
“I call upon the European countries, which are talking about stopping Iran, to follow suit. It’s time to stop talking; it’s time to do. That’s exactly what the US did and that’s what Europe needs to do.”
Trump signed the executive order and reiterated his view that the nuclear deal signed under the Obama administration was a “horrible, one-sided deal.”
Trump called on all nations “to make clear that the Iranian regime faces a choice: either change its threatening, destabilizing behavior and reintegrate with the global economy, or continue down a path of economic isolation.”
Trump also warned that those who don’t stop bilateral ties with Iran “risk severe consequences.”
Other Israeli officials also hailed the move.
“This courageous decision will be remembered for generations,” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman wrote on Twitter, adding that despite Trump’s offer to talk directly with Iran’s leadership, eventually the U.S. president “changed the direction” by signing the executive order.
“No more agreements and subservience, but rather a determined struggle to stop the murderous ayatollah regime, which spreads terror, violence and hatred throughout the Middle East,” Liberman vowed.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett praised Trump “for his brave stand against Iran’s tyrannous regime.”
“The sanctions stand as a lesson to Iran’s leaders and the whole world. Iran must end its genocidal ambitions, & its spread of hatred, instability, & terror across the region,” he wrote.
Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said: “I welcome the US president’s tough and justified policies.”
Deputy Minister Michael Oren said the move represented a “return to sanity.”
“No longer will a regime that supports world terror, massacres hundreds of thousands of civilians, demands Israel’s destruction, oppresses its own people and lies about its nuclear program be rewarded,” he wrote on Twitter.
The European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, together with the foreign ministers of the UK, France and Germany, released a joint statement condemning Trump’s move.
“We deeply regret the reimposition of sanctions by the U.S., due to the latter’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” the statement said.
“The JCPOA is working and delivering on its goal, namely to ensure that the Iranian program remains exclusively peaceful,” the statement went on. “It is a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture, crucial for the security of Europe, the region and the entire world.”