Israel urges US to slap new sanctions on Iran over missiles
AP Photo/Fars News Agency, Ali Shaigan
Iran's deployment of missiles in Syria appear set to be at the center of talks between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump when they meet on Monday.
Israel has grown increasingly alarmed at what it says are a proliferation of Iranian bases in war-ravaged Syria, from which it allegedly launched a drone that was shot down over Israel last month.
Iran has flatly rejected US and European suggestions that it enter negotiations over its missile program, which it says are purely defensive and not up for discussion.
Appearing at the America Israel Public Affairs Council on Sunday, Israel's Ambassador in Washington Ron Dermer urged the US and Europe to slap sanctions on Iran's financial and oil sectors over its missile production.
"Iran already has missiles that can hit Israel. So those missiles that they are developing are not for us, they're for all of Europe and, ultimately, for the United States," he told an audience at the long-running pro-Israel event.
Calling on the world powers to incorporate missiles into the nuclear accord, Dermer specified "That would mean that if Iran continues to develop these missiles, that you would have crippling sanctions on Iran."
"What crippling sanctions mean are sanctions on oil and sanctions on the financial sector."
His comments came alongside a report in Axios that Israeli officials are anxious that the US and Europe are only considering taking action on Iran's long-range missiles, rather than those capable of striking Israel.
Trump has previously threatened to tear up a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers unless more is done to curb Iran's missile program.
European governments have been scrambling to mollify Trump and keep the deal intact, and have voiced increasing concern over Iran's missile program.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who is due to visit Iran on Monday, said last month that its missile program and involvement in regional conflicts needed to be addressed if Iran "wants to return to the family of nations".
Ali Akbar Velayati, foreign policy adviser to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, criticized Le Drian's position on Saturday, just two days before they are expected to meet.
"Iran's defense program is not the concern of other countries such as France, that they should come and tell us what missiles we can have. Do we tell France how it should defend itself?" he told the semi-official ISNA news agency.
"If Le Drian's visit is aimed at reinforcing our relations, he would do well to avoid negative positions," Velayati added.
AFP contributed to this report.
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