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Netanyahu warns Iran as EU considers new sanctions

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The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned of action against Iran during his speech at the official state ceremony at Yad Vashem on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Netanyahu invoked the lessons of World War Two and the Holocaust to call for action against Iran, saying that “Israel will never act in the mistaken way that the world powers acted, as happened in Munich in 1938. We stop aggression at its inception”.

“These are not empty words. We back them up with action. Our policy can be summed up in three words: resoluteness against aggression. Resoluteness in defence, resoluteness in deterrence, resoluteness in offence—resoluteness against anyone who threatens to destroy us,” he said.

Netanyahu also took the opportunity to condemn the Syrian regime and the recent chemical attack in Syria, saying that “the events of the last days teach that standing up to evil and aggression is a mission that is incumbent upon every generation”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to Netanyahu on Wednesday and told him it was important to respect Syria’s sovereignty, according to a statement on the Kremlin’s website. Netanyahu’s office said: “The Prime Minister reiterated that Israel will not allow Iran to establish a military presence in Syria.” Israel remains on high alert following an alleged Israeli airstrike on the T-4 military base in Syria that killed 14 combatants, seven of which are now thought to be Iranian.

Britain, France and Germany have proposed fresh EU sanctions against Iran to limit its ballistic missile programme and its role in Syria’s war, according to a confidential document reported exclusively by Reuters. EU signatories to the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal are trying to persuade the US Government not to abandon the deal, as the 12 May deadline for sanctions waivers by US President Donald Trump approaches. The document says that EU officials will circulate “a list of persons and entities” to be targeted as part of their role in Iran’s ballistic missile programme and Tehran’s role in backing Syria’s government in the seven year civil war.

EU foreign ministers are due to discuss the proposal at a closed-door meeting on Monday in Brussels. To be implemented, the the sanctions would have to be approved by all 28 EU member states.