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Netanyahu hails new Trump sanctions on Iran as 'historic day'

Israel had long opposed the Iran nuclear deal [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 November, 2018

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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.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday called the start of new US sanctions against his country's arch 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 on 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.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has verified 12 times that Iran has abided by the terms of the nuclear agreement.

The US sanctions 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.

Earlier, a defiant Iran said it will "proudly bypass" sanctions by the United States that took effect on Monday targeting the Islamic republic's vital oil and financial sectors.

"I announce that we will proudly bypass your illegal, unjust sanctions because it's against international regulations," Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech.

"We are in a situation of economic war, confronting a bullying power. I don't think that in the history of America, someone has entered the White House who is so against law and international conventions," he added.

Foreign companies and banks are largely unwilling to make enemies of the US Treasury, and most international firms that set up in Iran after the 2015 deal have been forced to leave, including France's Total, Peugeot and Renault, and Germany's Siemens.

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