Netanyahu: Current US sanctions won’t stop Iran’s nuclear program

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israel’s parliament Monday that the current sanctions against Iran are not going to stop its nuclear program.

Speaking to the Israeli Knesset’s Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee, Netanyahu said stronger sanctions against Iran’s central bank and oil exports are needed to halt its nuclear ambitions.

"As long as there will not be effective sanctions on Iran's central bank and oil industry, there won’t be any effect on its nuclear program," Netanyahu said, according to Israeli media.


Tensions between Iran and the United States remain high as U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey visits Israel this week. The United States and Israel said Sunday they were delaying a joint military exercise.

Israel’s vice prime minister accused President Obama of being hesitant to impose harsh sanctions because of “election-year considerations” during an interview with Israel Radio on Sunday.

As Tehran continues to pursue its nuclear program, the United States is concerned that Israel will launch a strike against Iran. Analysts say the chance for military conflict between Iran and the United States is at its highest point in two decades.

The United States imposed sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran, which would bar foreign financial institutions' access to the U.S. market if they do business with Iran. But Obama issued a signing statement indicating he may not follow through completely with the sanctions.

Netanyahu’s comments to the Knesset stand in contrast to an interview he gave to The Weekend Australian magazine in which he said, "For the first time, I see Iran wobble under the sanctions that have been adopted and especially under the threat of strong sanctions on their central bank.”

Netanyahu and Obama, who have had a contentious relationship at times, spoke by phone last week about Iran.