Vice PM Silvan Shalom
Vice PM Silvan ShalomYoni Kempinski

Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said on Wednesday that harsher sanctions must be imposed on Iran in order to stop its nuclear program. He made the comments during a panel with government ministers from other countries, which was held as part of the 12th Annual Herzliya Conference.

“Israel is the sole partner of the West, the only country in the Middle East that the West can trust and if the international community and the West do not want Iran to take over and dominate the oil resources of the entire world, the sanctions must be toughened and broadened,” Shalom said.

He added, “We are very, very close to the deciding point and imposing harsh and widespread sanctions also on Iran’s Central Bank is critical at this time. Sanctions may lead to a change of perception in Iran. Now they think that acquiring nuclear weapons will keep the regime’s survivability, but sanctions will lead to the necessary recognition that only if they abandon the nuclear program will they be able to continue to rule.”

Shalom, who said Israel welcomes the European Union’s decision to slap an embargo on Iranian oil, stressed that Iran wishes to control the oil reserves in the entire Middle East, and as such, sanctions on its Central Bank should be the next step. He added that Russia and China are refusing to impose sanctions on the Islamic Republic because they do not want to allow the Western world to control their oil reserves.

“It is time that the world understands that we are all in this together against the threat of terrorism and the Iranian nuclear program,” said Shalom. “The world should support our position, both on the Iranian issue as well as on the Palestinian issue.”

Also taking part in the discussion was Canada’s Foreign Minister, John Baird, who said the West shares the challenge of terrorism with Israel.

“We see Iran developing nuclear weapons and approaching the moment where they will press the button, we hear what they say and know how far they can reach with their actions and therefore we need to take this seriously,” said Baird. “This is the time to double the sanctions and make them tougher.”

“There is a desire to avoid international crises and China is a very important customer, but they should think if they want the Iranians to put bombs in Egypt and if they want instability in Iran,” added Baird.