Dismayed with Italy’s opposition to Iran sanctions, the Israeli regime is exerting pressure on Rome to agree with imposing further bans on the country over its missile program and regional activities, Israeli media report.
Earlier this month, Yuval Rotem, the Director General of Israeli Ministry for Foreign Affairs, summoned Italy’s ambassador to Israel, Gianluigi Benedetti, to express his dissatisfaction with Italy’s move to prevent the imposition of further sanctions on Iran.
According to Israel’s Channel 10, the pressure comes as the consent of all 28 member states of the bloc is necessary to approve the new sanctions on Iran and Italy is the only country in the bloc opposing the new sanctions.
In the meeting, Rotem told the Italian ambassador that Israel expected Italy to re-consider its position.
During the meeting, the Italian ambassador clarified that his country was blocking sanctions against Iran because they believed the timing was not suitable, the report said.
Meanwhile, it was agreed that a delegation of the Foreign Ministry and representatives of the Israeli security apparatus make a visit to Rome to discuss Israel’s information on Iran’s activities in the region and the missile program with the aim of persuading the Italians to change their position.
The new sanctions have been introduced by Britain, France and Germany to stop Iran’s missile program as well activities in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen. According to the English version of Jerusalem Post, the sanctions are aimed at showing Trump administration that the EU is serious in its activity against Iran and thus persuade Washington not to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal.
A senior Israeli official told the paper that Italy’s opposition to imposing new sanctions on Iran stems from a series of business contracts signed by Italian companies in Iran.
This comes as the deadline of May 12 for the overhaul of the JCPOA set by Trump is approaching rapidly. Back in January, Trump gave Europeans 120 days to agree to changes made to the nuclear agreement and threatened that if his revisions were rejected, he would scrap the deal.
In response, Iranian officials have threatened that if the JCPOA was discarded, Iran would be able to restore its halted uranium enrichment process within a matter of days, and that Iran was indeed preparing for every potential scenario.
On the other hand, French President Emmanuel Macron, who is on an official visit to the US, said Sunday that there is no other option but to preserve the deal. Meanwhile, UN High representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu urged on Monday all parties to the nuclear deal not to abandon it.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated on Monday he had agreed with his Chinese counterpart that Moscow and Beijing try to block any US attempt to sabotage the nuclear deal.