Netanyahu warns against easing sanctions on Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the international community on Sunday against easing sanctions on Iran

Written by Associated Press | Jerusalem | Published:June 17, 2013 1:14 am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the international community on Sunday against easing sanctions on Iran following the election of a reformist-backed president,as the country’s nuclear efforts remain firmly in the hands of Iran’s extremist ruling clerics.

Netanyahu made the comments a day after the surprise victory by Hassan Rowhani in Iran’s presidential election was announced. Netanyahu said that the Iranian clerics disqualified candidates they disagreed with from running in the election. He said the international community must not get caught in “wishful thinking’’ and ease the pressure on Tehran saying “Iran will be tested by its deeds.’’

Netanyahu said that sanctions on Iran should be increased to pressure Tehran to end its suspect nuclear program. “The more pressure increases on Iran so will the chance of ending Iran’s nuclear program which remains the biggest threat to world peace,’’ he said.

Earlier,Yuval Steinitz,Israel’s minister of intelligence and strategic affairs,made similar remarks to Army Radio. Steinitz said he doubted that the election of the new president will soften Iran’s stance in its nuclear standoff with the west. “The international community needs to work hard to tighten sanctions and present a clear ultimatum to Iran to maybe bring about change,” he said.

US Ready to engage directly with Iran: Kerry

WASHINGTON: Despite having reservations on the transparency of the electoral process,the US said it is ready to engage directly with the Iranian government led by its newly elected President moderate Hassan Rowhani.

“We,along with our international partners,remain ready to engage directly with the Iranian government. We hope they will honour their international obligations to the rest of the world in order to reach a diplomatic solution that will fully address the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program,” Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday. PTI

Moderate president a beacon of hope: Hezbollah

Beirut: Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah,a close ally of Tehran,welcomed the election of Hassan Rowhani as Iran’s new president Sunday,calling him a “beacon of hope”.

“The Arab and Muslim people… who have always seen the Islamic republic as a supporter of the oppressed… and every fighter who resists for God,consider you today a beacon of hope,” the group said.

Iran is Hezbollah’s biggest backer and supporter,and has also thrown its weight behind the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad,helping it battle an uprising now in its third year. PTI

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