Netanyahu: ‘more serious sanctions on Iran needed’

Israeli officials confirm defense drill postponement

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Posted on: 
17 Jan 2012
Netanyahu: ‘more serious sanctions on Iran needed’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday that current efforts to curtail Iran’s renegade nuclear program, support for terrorism and pursuit of regional hegemony will not succeed unless there is a serious international effort to support real and effective sanctions against Iran’s petroleum industry and central bank, including China and Russia. He also said that in his judgment, Iran is moving quickly to fill the void left after the US withdrawal from Iraq and this was having a detrimental effect on Israel’s security situation. He went on to explain that because of the political and social changes in the region, Israel’s position is becoming more precarious, as Islamic movements come to power in several countries, most worryingly in Egypt, endangering the quiet on the southern border Israel has enjoyed for a generation.

“The State of Israel must greatly strengthen its defense capabilities and its ability to attack immediately,” Netanyahu said. “This costs a lot of money. We cannot increase the IDF’s power without a strong economy.”

In related news, Defense Minister Ehud Barak confirmed on Monday that the  joint US-Israeli “Austere Challenge 12” air defense drill recently postponed will be held in the second half of 2012.

“In recent days, we reached the conclusion that it would be right to postpone it, this will enable us to better prepare for it," he said in comments relayed by his office.

"The entire world understands that we had to postpone this exercise because of political and regional uncertainties, as well as the tensions and instability prevailing in the region," agreed Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in an interview on public radio from Warsaw, where he is on an official state visit. "It's only a delay, the exercise will take place by the end of the year."


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