Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly planning a trip to Europe in order to urge European leaders to stiffen sanctions against Iran in the face of Tehran’s continuing nuclear development.
According to the International Herald Tribune (IHT), Netanyahu is hoping to travel to Europe towards the end of the year with Iran at the top of his agenda. With the Iranian currency having plummeted in recent days, there is renewed Israeli hope that sanctions are beginning to take their toll, increasing the chances that the Tehran government will comply with international demands over its nuclear programme.
The IHT report suggests that Israeli officials believe impending presidential elections in the United States necessitate a shift of focus onto Europe to lead the way with fresh economic and trade restrictions against Iran. An unnamed senior Israeli government official is quoted saying, “Up until now it’s been the US and then the Europeans following. If it’s the other way round, so be it, we’ve got to go with what we’ve got.” However, another official exercised a note of caution, commenting, “nobody has yet ascertained that the Europeans are ready to impose a new round of sanctions.”
Nonetheless, there have been reports over the last few days that the UK, France and Germany will propose a set of new measures against Iran at a meeting of EU foreign ministers on 15 October, which will seek to place further constraints on Iranian finance, trade and transport.