Netanyahu calls start of new Iran sanctions a ‘historic day’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday called the start of new US sanctions against his country’s main enemy Iran a “historic day” that will reduce Tehran’s “aggression” in the region.

“Today is a historic day,” Netanyahu told lawmakers from his Likud party, according to his office.

“Today is the day the US under President (Donald) Trump’s leadership imposed extremely harsh sanctions on Iran, the harshest sanctions imposed on Iran since the effort to curb its aggression began.”

Earlier Monday, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman called the new sanctions a “critical” blow to Iran’s actions in the region.

The measures described by Washington as “the toughest sanctions ever” follow Trump’s controversial decision in May to abandon the multi-nation nuclear deal with Tehran.

They aim to significantly reduce Iran’s oil exports — which have already fallen by around one million barrels a day since May — and cut it off from international finance.

Israel had long opposed the Iran nuclear deal, saying it was too limited in scope and timeframe.

It also said the lifting of sanctions allowed Iran to finance militant groups and its own military activity.

Israel is particularly concerned with Iran’s involvement in neighbouring Syria and has pledged to keep it from entrenching itself militarily there.

The other parties to the nuclear deal — Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia — opposed the US move and say the accord is working as intended in keeping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons for now.

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