“The US dealt a critical blow to Iran’s entrenchment in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq and Yemen. President Trump, you’ve done it again!” Liberman stated.
By: United with Israel Staff and AP
Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman welcomed the newly restored US sanctions on the Islamic Republic on Monday, saying they will deal a “critical blow” to Iran’s military presence around the Middle East.
“President [Donald] Trump’s bold decision is the sea-change the Middle East has been waiting for,” Liberman tweeted Monday.
“In a single move, the United States is dealing a critical blow to Iran’s entrenchment in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq and Yemen. President Trump, you’ve done it again! Thank you,” he added, referring to Iran’s regional network of terrorism and proxy groups.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday thanked the US and Trump for imposing a second set of harsher sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran in an effort to curb its belligerent conduct.
“For years, I’ve been calling for sanctions to be fully reimposed against Iran’s murderous terrorist regime, which threatens the entire world,” Netanyahu stated.
“The effect of the initial sanctions is already being felt — the rial has plummeted, Iran’s economy is depressed and the results are evident,” he added.
“Thank you, President Trump, for this historic move. The sanctions are indeed coming,” Netanyahu concluded, echoing Trump’s tweet on the new sanctions.
Trump tweeted a “Game of Thrones”-inspired movie poster-like image of himself with the tagline “Sanctions are Coming, November 5.”
Israel has been a fierce opponent of the 2015 nuclear deal from which the US withdrew in May, saying the accord failed to rein in Iran’s regional terror threat or effectively combat its nuclear program.
Iran Declares ‘War Situation’
Meanwhile, Iran greeted the re-imposition of US sanctions on Monday with sword-rattling in the form of air defense drills and an acknowledgment from President Hassan Rouhani the nation faces a “war situation,” raising Mideast tensions.
The sanctions end all the economic benefits America granted Tehran for the nuclear deal. The new sanctions particularly hurt Iran’s vital oil industry, a crucial source of hard currency for its anemic economy. Its national currency has plummeted over the last year, sending prices for everything from mobile phones to medicine skyrocketing.
“Today, Iran is able to sell its oil and it will sell,” Rouhani vowed Monday as the sanctions kicked in.
Rouhani pledged to government officials that Iran would overcome the sanctions.
“We are in the war situation,” Rouhani said. “We are in the economic war situation. We are confronting a bullying enemy. We have to stand to win.”
He stepped up the rhetoric, comparing Trump’s recent reinstatement of US sanctions with Iran’s 1980s war against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
“Yesterday, Saddam was in front us, today Trump is front of us. There is no difference. We must resist and win,” he said.
Iran is already in the grip of an economic crisis. Its national currency, the rial, now trades at 145,000 to one US dollar, down from when it traded 40,500 to one US dollar a year ago. The economic chaos sparked mass anti-government protests at the end of last year which resulted in nearly 5,000 reported arrests and at least 25 people being killed. Sporadic demonstrations still continue.
The US says the sanctions are not aimed at toppling the government, but at persuading it to radically change its belligerent policies, including its support for regional terror groups and its development of long-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.