Bibi issues warning over Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images)

EUROPE’S cool response to Iran’s nuclear transgressions is reminiscent of the appeasement of Hitler, Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed.

He said that back in Europe of the 1930s, as today, “there were those who stuck their head in the sand and did not see the approaching danger”.

Earlier this month Iran started enriching uranium beyond the level allowed in the 2015 nuclear deal with the West. America has left the deal, but Israel wants the other signatories – especially the EU – to respond by triggering the dispute resolution mechanism, which would allow them to slap sanctions back on Iran. 

But EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Monday that none of the signatories have said they want to trigger this mechanism as none currently think “that the non-compliance is considered to be significant”.

Netanyahu hit back, saying, “It seems there are those in Europe who will not wake up until Iranian nuclear missiles land on European soil. But then it will be too late, of course.”

Iran is keen to avoid additional sanctions that could follow the dispute resolution mechanism. It is also trying to encourage US President Donald Trump to put an end to sanctions that he has imposed since leaving the deal. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said this week that if Trump eliminates sanctions then the door is “wide open” for negotiations.

Hezbollah has been flexing its muscles in recent days, responding to the spike in tensions between the US and Iran. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah warned that this organisation can “bombard” Israel forcefully if there is war between the US and Iran. 

“When the Americans understand that this war could wipe out Israel, they will reconsider,” Nasrallah said. “Our collective responsibility in the region is to work towards preventing an American war on Iran.”

Netanyahu spoke about Nasrallah’s threat during Sunday’s cabinet meeting, and said that if he attacks, Israel “will hit him and Lebanon with a crushing military blow”.

NATHAN JEFFAY