TEL AVIV – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday called for snapback sanctions to be reimposed on Iran over its nuclear program after Britain, France and Germany triggered a dispute resolution mechanism in the nuclear deal.
“We know exactly what’s going on in Iranian nuclear program. Iran thinks it’ll acquire nuclear weapons. I reiterate: Israel will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons,” he said in a Hebrew-language video statement.
“I also call on the West to impose the automatic sanctions mechanism at the UN, snapback sanctions, now,” he added.
PM Netanyahu: "We know exactly what's happening with the Iranian nuclear program. Iran thinks it can achieve nuclear weapons.
I reiterate: Israel won't allow Iran to achieve nuclear weapons. I also call on all Western countries to impose snapback sanctions at the UN now." pic.twitter.com/NWzpNYIqR4
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) January 14, 2020
European officials said the move was prompted by fears that Iran may be less than a year away from developing a nuclear bomb. Officials also fear Iran will be learning about centrifuge enrichment in an irreversible way, the UK’s Guardian newspaper reported.
“The concern is they are going to learn something that it is not possible for them to unlearn,” the paper quoted one senior official as saying.
The European states also rejected Tehran’s claim that it was justified in violating the terms of the Obama-led deal because the U.S. already breached the 2015 agreement with President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw in 2018.
“We do not accept the argument that Iran is entitled to reduce compliance with the JCPoA,” the countries said in a joint statement. “Iran’s actions are inconsistent with the provisions of the nuclear agreement and have increasingly severe and non-reversible proliferation implications.”
“We have therefore been left with no choice, given Iran’s actions, but to register today our concerns that Iran is not meeting its commitments,” the statement read.
However, they added that putting Iran on notice did not mean they were joining Washington in applying maximum economic pressure on Tehran.
Instead, they said, they were committed “preserving” the agreement and held a “sincere hope of finding a way forward to resolve the impasse through constructive diplomatic dialogue.”
The news comes after Iran vowed to increase its uranium enrichment and said it would no longer adhere to the terms of the deal, including limits on its number of operational nuclear centrifuges, in response to the U.S. killing of IRGC commander, Qasem Soleimani.
Last week, after Iran had vowed to avenge Soleimani’s death, Netanyahu warned Iran of a “crushing blow” if Iran attacked Israel.