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Netanyahu hails Trump’s ‘historic move’ to reimpose Iran sanctions

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on Monday, March 5, 2018 in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has praised U.S. President Donald Trump for reimposing sanctions against Iran, calling it an “historic move.”

“Thank you, President Trump, for this historic move. The sanctions are indeed coming,” Netanyahu said in a statement released by his office on November 3.

The U.S. administration on November 2, as expected, announced the reimposition of sanctions to take effect on November 5 against Tehran, targeting the energy, shipbuilding, shipping, and financial sectors.

The sanctions were lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran in exchange for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear activities.

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Trump in May pulled out of the pact and in August began reintroducing sanctions on the Iranian economy, saying the terms of the accord were not strict enough to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and accusing Tehran of supporting militant activity in the region. Iran denies that.

Both the United States and Israel are archfoes of the government in Tehran, which has in the past threatened to destroy Israel.

“For years I’ve been calling for sanctions to be fully reimposed against Iran’s murderous terrorist regime, which threatens the entire world,” Netanyahu’s statement said.

He said the first round of sanctions in August “were already being felt.”

“The riyal has plummeted, Iran’s economy is depressed, and the results are evident,” he said.

Sanctions imposed in the summer have helped send the Iranian economy into downward spiral, leading some citizens to take to the streets in antigovernment protests.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghassemi told state TV on November 2 that “we have already prepared for these sanctions in advance, and there is therefore no reason to worry.”

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On November 3, state TV quoted Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as saying the United States had failed to reassert its domination of Iran since the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, state television reported.

“America’s goal has been to reestablish the domination it had [before 1979] but it has failed. America has been defeated by the Islamic Republic over the past 40 years,” Khamenei was quoted as telling a meeting with thousands of students.

U.S. allies France, Britain, and Germany — which also signed the nuclear deal along with Russia and China – said they “deeply regretted” Washington’s move to renew the sanctions against Iran.

In response to the threat of U.S. sanctions, several major European companies have announced they were suspending operations in Iran, including energy giant Total; carmakers Peugeot, Renault, and Daimler; aviation companies Airbus, AIr France, and British Airways; and German corporate giants Siemens and Deutsche Telecom.

As part of the new round of sanctions, the White House has warned Iran’s customers they must reduce their purchases of oil to zero or face U.S. penalties.

The United States on November 2 said it was granting temporary exemptions to sanctions to eight “jurisdictions,” which it said it would identify on November 5 – the day the sanctions take effect.

The waivers will allow the jurisdictions to temporarily continue imports of Iranian oil.