“I congratulate President Trump and the US administration for making the important decision to impose sanctions on Iran,” Netanyahu said in a statement.
“This is an important moment for Israel, the US, the region and the entire world,” he said. “It represents the determination to curb Iran’s aggression in the region and its ongoing intention to arm itself with nuclear weapons. I call upon the countries of Europe, which talk about stopping Iran, to join this measure. The time has come to stop talking and to take action, and that is exactly what the US has done and what Europe should do.”
The reimposition of economic sanctions, resulting from Trump’s decision in May to walk away from the nuclear agreement that was President Barack Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement, were to go into effect at midnight Monday.
The EU, meanwhile, said it deeply regretted the move, and issued a statement that said the remaining parties to the nuclear agreement “have committed to work on, inter alia, the preservation and maintenance of effective financial channels with Iran, and the continuation of Iran’s export of oil and gas.”
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman mocked the Europeans in a tweet, saying Sacha Baron Cohen needs to “dress up as an Iranian ayatollah” to understand what is motivating the Europeans.
Baron Cohen runs a television show in which he dresses as characters – most often as an Israeli anti-terrorist expert – and provokes US public figures to say ludicrous things.
“Where is Sasha Baron Cohen when he needs to dress up as an Iranian ayatollah and meet the leaders of Europe?,” Liberman tweeted. “Perhaps he can understand what madness has gripped them. Europe is working to save the Iranian economy and the regime of the ayatollahs, which is responsible for a series of terror attacks and attempted attacks, including recent ones, on European soil. This is just crazy.”
Four hours earlier, Liberman posted a more diplomatic tweet, saying the US move is a “brave decision that will be remembered for generations.” Trump, Liberman wrote, “has changed the direction in relation to Iran. No more agreement and fawning, but a determined struggle to stop the ayatollahs’ murderous regime, which spreads terror, violence and hatred throughout the Middle East.”
Education Minister Naftali Bennett also posted a tweet praising the move, saying the sanctions “stand as a lesson to Iran’s leaders and the world,” and Iran “must end its genocidal ambitions.”
The praise, however, did not only come from the coalition. Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid also lauded the move, saying, “The continuation of the American sanctions on Iran is another courageous step led by President Donald Trump. Until the Iranian people succeed in shaking off the tyrannical regime, the ayatollahs will have to choose: a nuclear program and support for terror, or a weak economy and harm to their own people.”