Benjamin Netanyahu - Olivier Fitoussi  - 05122011
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Photo by Olivier Fitoussi
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that the current sanctions imposed on Iran were not effective enough to stop its nuclear program, and called for further sanctions on the Islamic Republic's central bank and oil industry.

"As long as there will not be effective sanctions on Iran's central bank and oil industry, there won’t be any effect on its nuclear program," Netanyahu said during a discussion in the Knesset's Defense and Foreign Affairs committee.

He also warned against Iran's advance into Iraq. "There is a lack of stability and under these circumstances we must strengthen our defense capabilities against aerial and ground attacks," he said.

Netanyahu's statement comes after he actually praised the current sanctions on Iran last week in an interview with The Weekend Australian. In that interview, he said Iran is beginning to fold due to the combination of sanctions and threats of military action on its nuclear facilities.

European officials have worked for several months on banning the purchase of Iranian oil, and are expected to agree to the measures at a meeting of foreign ministers on January 23.

Netanyahu also commented on the current talks with the Palestinians, saying he is prepared to drive to Ramallah and engage in talks with Abbas, but the Palestinian president refuses.

He blamed Erekat for breaking the agreement not to discuss the contents of the talks that have been taking place in Amman in recent weeks, and for raising additional conditions.

"Erekat wants to abandon the January 26 talks, but the Quartet scheduled 90 days for talks," Netanyahu said. "We served Erekat with a 21-point document that anyone would agree to… but Erekat continues to pose conditions."

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