Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz
Source: Press TV
Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz calls for stronger Iran sanctions to force the country to limit its nuclear program, warning Tehran should know all options regarding its atomic capabilities are “on the table.”
"Sanctions must be tightened, the sanctions are already burdening the Iranians and they should be tightened further. And of course the world and the Americans should keep, that the Iranians will seriously understand that, all options are on the table. This will surely make them think twice," Steinitz said in al-Quds (Jerusalem) on Sunday.
The United States, Israel, and some of their allies accuse Tehran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear program. Washington and Tel Aviv have repeatedly threatened Tehran with the "option" of a military strike against its atomic facilities.
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council -- under pressure from Washington and Tel Aviv -- has imposed four rounds of sanctions against Iran. The US and the EU have also adopted unilateral measures against the Islamic Republic in an effort to deter Western investment in Iran's energy sector.
Iran argues that as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has every right to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
The IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence indicating that Tehran's civilian nuclear program has been diverted to nuclear weapons production.
Furthermore, US President Barack Obama on December 31, 2011 signed into law fresh economic sanctions against Iran's Central Bank in an apparent bid to punish foreign companies and banks that do business with the Iranian financial institution.
The bill requires foreign financial firms to make a choice between doing business with Iran's Central Bank and oil sector or with the US financial sector.
The legislation will not take effect for six months in a bid to provide oil markets with time to adjust.
Energy experts say the sanctions could lead to a major hike in crude oil prices and disrupt the interests of the US and its allies that depend on oil imports from Iran.