Israel Tries to Coerce Babylon the Great

Netanyahu calls for Iran sanctions over nuclear ‘violations’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged world powers on Sunday to reimpose tough sanctions against Iran, vowing to curb Tehran’s regional “aggression” hours after another deadly strike on pro-Iranian fighters in Syria.

“The International Atomic Energy Agency has determined that Iran refused to give the agency’s inspectors access to secret sites where Iran conducted secret nuclear military activity,” Netanyahu told his cabinet.

The UN nuclear watchdog said on Friday that Iran had accumulated enriched uranium at nearly eight times the limit under a landmark 2015 deal, and has for months blocked inspections at sites where nuclear activity may have taken place.

Mr Netanyahu accused Iran of “systematically violating its commitments by hiding sites, enriching fissile material and in other ways.”

“In light of these discoveries, the international community must join the US and reimpose crippling sanctions on Iran,” he said.

Iran has been progressively rolling back on its commitments under the 2015 agreement in response to US President Donald Trump’s unilateral 2018 withdrawal from the accord and re-imposition of sanctions.

Last week the US said it was ending waivers in its sanctions for nations that remain in the Iran nuclear accord, bringing the deal further to the verge of collapse.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington escalated after Trump abandoned the deal and the long-standing enemies have appeared to come to the brink of a direct conflict twice in the past year.

The most recent was in January when Iran fired a barrage of missiles at US troops stationed in Iraq in retaliation for a US drone strike that killed Qasem Soleimani, a top Iranian general.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday brushed aside Trump’s hopes of diplomatic progress after the two countries carried out a prisoner swap.

“We achieved humanitarian swap *despite* your subordinates’ efforts,” Mr Zarif tweeted, emphasising that it was the US that had walked away from the 2015 deal.

The deal to curb Iran’s nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief was signed with the United States – under Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama – along with Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.

Tehran has accused the remaining signatories of failing to sufficiently support it in the wake of Washington’s withdrawal.

In his Sunday remarks, Mr Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s longstanding vow to “act against Iran’s aggression” and “not let Iran obtain nuclear weapons”.

Israel “will continue to act systematically against Iran’s attempts to establish a military presence on our borders,” he said.

Late on Saturday evening, at least 12 Iraqi and Afghan fighters in a pro-Iran base in eastern Syria’s rural Deir Ezzor province died in eight strikes by unidentified aircraft.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights could not identify the aircraft, but said Israel was likely behind the attack.

The country has carried out hundreds of strikes targeting regime and Iranian-backed forces.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli army refused to comment on the Saturday evening strikes.

Updated: June 7, 2020 04:46 PM

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