Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon predicted Tuesday that within weeks Iran’s entire banking and insurance systems will be placed under crippling sanctions, further isolating the Islamic republic from the international economy.
Ayalon made the statement in an interview for Army Radio in the wake of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Israel, during which she met with senior Israeli officials, her meetings focusing primarily on the Iranian threat and the two countries’ efforts to thwart it. Clinton pledged Monday evening that the US would do “everything in its power” to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
“Last Thursday I held the semi-annual strategic dialogue meeting with US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns. A day later the US announced new steps to bring Iranian banks and insurance companies under sanctions,” said Ayalon, stressing the shared interests of the two countries. “The US too has a clear interest to prevent a nuclear Iran. [US President Barack] Obama himself called it a strategic threat just the other day.”
Ayalon said that once all the Iranian banks and insurance companies were placed under sanctions, the Iranian economy would be crippled. “Their economy is already suffering severely. These steps, along with the embargo on Iranian oil, are having an effect. I hope this proves to them just how determined Israel is,” said Ayalon.
The deputy foreign minister said that talks between Israel and the US on the Iranian issue were held in an open atmosphere with the two countries sharing similar perspectives, including on the future use of force if necessary. “We are on the same side on this issue. Not only are all options on the table, there are US plans and preparations underway.”
Ayalon expressed disappointment over Clinton’s estimate that Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard would not be released from prison, but said the government would continue to do its best to free him.