Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for increased sanctions against Iran Sunday, despite some optimism following the latest round of nuclear talks with the Islamic Republic.
Netanyahu told his cabinet that “as long as we don’t see actions instead of words, the international pressure should continue, and even more than that, it should be strengthened.”
“The greater the pressure,” he added, “the greater the chance that there will be a genuine dismantling of the Iranian military nuclear program. If the pressure is reduced, the chance will be accordingly smaller.”
It was Netanyahu’s first public statement on last week’s round of talks between Iran and global powers over its suspected nuclear program. Negotiators ended the talks on an upbeat note, though they gave no details on what proposals were exchanged.
US officials say the White House is debating whether to offer Iran the chance to recoup billions of dollars in frozen assets if it scales back its nuclear program.
Almost simultaneously, Iran’s parliament speaker warned that too much pressure from the West during nuclear talks could force Iranian lawmakers to call for stepping up atomic work.
The message from Ali Larijani followed appeals by some members of the US Congress to tighten sanctions despite nuclear negotiations that began last week. It also appeared to address concerns by hard-liners over possible Iranian concessions in efforts to ease sanctions by the US and its allies.
Larijani said Sunday parliament could have a voice in the “amount and diversity” of nuclear activities, suggesting it could urge expanded nuclear activity if the West shows a “double standard and unjustifiable behavior.” He gave no further details in comments reported by the semiofficial Fars news agency.
Talks have focused on one key Iranian activity, uranium enrichment.