Israelis call for tougher sanctions against Iran

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Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak has said the world must quickly stop Iran from reaching the point where even a “surgical” military strike could not block it from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Amid fears that Israel is nearing a decision to attack Iran’s nuclear programme, Mr Barak said tougher international sanctions are needed against Tehran’s oil and banks so that “we all will know early enough whether the Iranians are ready to give up their nuclear weapons programme”.

Iran insists its atomic programme is only aimed at producing energy and research, but has repeatedly refused to consider giving up its ability to enrich uranium.

“We are determined to prevent Iran from turning nuclear. And even the American president and opinion leaders have said that no option should be removed from the table and Iran should be blocked from turning nuclear,” Mr Barak told reporters during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“It seems to us to be urgent, because the Iranians are deliberately drifting into what we call an immunity zone where practically no surgical operation could block them,” he said.

The Defence Minister called it “a challenge for the whole world” to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.