TEL AVIV – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said European leaders will only wake up to the Iranian threat when a nuclear bomb lands on them.
His comments were made after the European Union on Monday announced that Iran’s violations of the 2015 nuclear deal did not constitute enough reason to reimpose sanctions.
“The European reaction to the Iranian violations” of the nuclear accord, said Netanyahu in the Hebrew-language clip, “are reminiscent of the European appeasement policy of the 1930s. Then too, there were those who buried their heads in the sand and did not see the imminent danger.”
With a slight smile, Netanyahu continued, “It seems that there are those in Europe who won’t wake up until Iranian nuclear missiles fall on European soil.”
“But by then it’ll be too late of course,” he added.
“In any case,” the prime minister concluded, “we will do everything to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon.”
Netanyahu’s main political rival, Blue and White party head Benny Gantz, for once agreed with the prime minister.
“This evening it is important to remind our friends in Europe that Iran is a global problem that threatens world peace,” he said.
“On this issue, there are no politics,” he added. “Israel cannot allow Iran a nuclear capability. And you can’t either.”
European foreign ministers met in Brussels Monday to discuss saving the nuclear deal after Iran admitted to violating its terms.
Last month, Iran announced that it had exceeded the enrichment limit set by the deal and had gathered a stockpile of more than 300 kilograms of low-enriched uranium.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said, “Iran is still a good year away from developing a nuclear bomb. There is still some closing but small window to keep the deal alive.”
EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini opined that there were no other options. “The deal has avoided Iran developing a nuclear weapon, and today everyone recognizes that there is no alternative.”
She added that Iran’s violations were “considered to be significant non-compliance.”
“For the time being, none of the parties to the agreement has signaled their intention to invoke this article [on renewing sanctions],” Mogherini said.
“We note that technically all the steps that have been taken — and that we regret have been taken — are reversible. So we hope and we invite Iran to reverse the steps,” Mogherini said.
Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, Mogherini’s likely successor, echoed her views, saying, “The deviations are not significant enough to think that Iran has definitively broken the agreement.”