Netanyahu Welcomes Renewed Iran Sanctions: We Now See the Fruit of My Struggle

Education Minister Bennett thanks Trump 'for Making The Ayatollahs Scared Again' ■ Netanyahu praises inclusion of SWIFT banking system in sanctions

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shows an illustration of Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions at the 67th session of the UN General Assembly, Sept. 27, 2012
Richard Drew,AP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the United States' renewed sanctions on Iran on Monday, calling them "the harshest sanctions imposed on Iran since the effort to stop its aggression began" and praising the fact they include the SWIFT global banking system.

"Iran is the biggest threat to Israel, to the Middle East and to world peace," Netanyahu said. "For many years I dedicated my time and energy to fighting the Iranian threat," he added. "On this issue, I went against almost the entire world. Today we see the fruit of that long and continuous battle."

According to Netanyahu, "the road ahead may be bumpy, but we should approach it from a very aggressive and staunch stance – morally, economically and security-wise."

Also on Monday, the Belgium-based global banking system announced it is suspending some unspecified Iranian banks’ access to its messaging system in the interest of the stability and integrity of the global financial system. However, SWIFT made no mention of U.S. sanctions, though its decision not to mention the resumption of the sanctions likely reflects the fact that it is caught between two contrary regulatory demands, Reuters reported.

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The United States reimposed oil and financial sanctions against Iran on Monday, significantly turning up the pressure on Tehran in order to curb its missile and nuclear programs and counter its growing military and political influence in the Middle East. 

The move restored U.S. sanctions that were lifted under a 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by the administration of former U.S. President Barack Obama, and add 300 new designations in Iran's oil, shipping, insurance and banking sectors. 

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman took to Twitter on Monday morning to thank Trump as the U.S. reimposes broad sanctions on Iran.

"President Trump's bold decision is the sea-change the Middle East has been waiting for. In a single move, the United States is dealing a critical blow to Iran's entrenchment in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq and Yemen," Lieberman wrote.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the far-right Habayit Hayehudi party, also responded to the move. "President Donald Trump, Thank you for Making The Ayatollahs Scared Again," Bennett tweeted.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani said that Iran will sell its oil and break the sanctions, pledging to government officials in comments aired on state TV that Iran would overcome the sanctions.

"We are in the war situation, " Rohani said. "We are in the economic war situation. We are confronting a bullying enemy. We have to stand to win."

U.S. President Donald Trump announced in May that his administration was withdrawing from what he called the "worst ever" agreement negotiated by the United States. Other parties to the deal, including Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia, have said they will not leave. 

Reuters contributed to this report.