Israel thinks it’s ‘too late’ for sanctions to stop Iran, US official says
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Israel thinks it’s ‘too late’ for sanctions to stop Iran, US official says

Anonymous US source tells Israeli media sanctions to tighten unless Iran halts enrichment

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

EU Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton, left, speaks with Iran's former chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili during May 2012 talks in Baghdad (photo credit: Hadi Mizban/AP)
EU Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton, left, speaks with Iran's former chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili during May 2012 talks in Baghdad (photo credit: Hadi Mizban/AP)

Tougher sanctions will follow the most recent round of talks between the West and Iran, despite an upcoming third round in Moscow in June, unless Iran halts its uranium enrichment, a senior American official told the Israeli media on Saturday.

The US official spoke anonymously due to his involvement with Thursday’s P5+1 talks in Baghdad. He said the United States and Israel are on the same page and that “there are no gaps in terms of handling the Iranian nuclear issue.” He said Israel’s concern that time was running out on halting Iran was “justified.”

Still, he acknowledged that Israel, unlike the US, thinks it is “too late” for sanctions to halt Iran.

The anonymous source said it is still impossible to determine whether Iran is committed to a diplomatic agreement with the West or whether Tehran is stalling for time

The official disregarded claims that the US is pressuring Iran because of Israeli demands. Rather, he said, the pressure stems from the fact that “the United States regards a nuclear Iran not only as a threat to Israel but to world peace.”

He said it is still impossible to determine whether Iran is committed to a diplomatic agreement with the West and ending its illegal nuclear program, or whether Tehran is stalling for time.

“Even if we do not have the patience, we need to give diplomacy a chance before military action,” the official added. “It is still not too late, and I think that Israel thinks that it is already too late,”

“Israel’s concern that time is running out is justified,” the official said. “We doubt whether an agreement with Iran is possible but we must exhaust the diplomatic path; the alternative, a nuclear Iran or regional war, is very serious.”

“The entire Western world, including China and Russia, is united against Iran and thinks that the sanctions are effective and that we should adhere to them,” he added.

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