Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that sanctions aimed at halting Iran’s nuclear enrichment program have failed to yield results.
"The sanctions are painful, hard… but will this bring about a halt or a retreat in the Iranian nuclear program? Until now, it has not happened," Netanyahu told reporters in Jerusalem.
He said the Iranian regime is struggling financially, but has strengthened its political hold on power in recent months.
So far, the UN Security Council has imposed four sets of sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear activities, while the US and Europe have also imposed their own raft of unilateral economic sanctions.
However, Israel – which sees a potential Iranian nuclear bomb as an existential threat – has made it clear it will not wait forever and fears Iran’s nuclear program could soon reach “the immunity zone” in which an Israeli attack would prove ineffectual.
Israeli, Greek and U.S. forces are in the midst of a drill in preparation for a possible war over Israel’s huge off-shore gas discoveries, which also may contain commercializable oil. Lebanon and Hizbullah have claimed the fields are in Lebanese territory and that they will "defend" the area against drilling by Israel.
The week-long drill is simulating air-to-air combat and anti-submarine warfare and is taking place off the coast of Turkey, possibly signaling it not to interfere with Israeli energy operations in the Mediterranean Sea. The “enemy” forces will be similar to those of the Turkish air force, according to the Defencenet.gr website.
Russia is keeping a wary eye on the American-Israeli exercises and is staging its own war drill in a Syrian port, according to DEBKAfile. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned this week against a pre-emptive strike, which he said would violate international law.
A Russian guided missile destroyer reportedly sailed to the Syrian port of Tartus for an exercise with what DEBKAfile said is three-fold for the United States that Moscow is supplying Syrian President Bashar Assad with defense systems, that the Russian and Iranian support of Assad will continue and that the deployment of the warship illustrates Moscow’s ability for a rapid response to foreign maneuvers.
Which leads to the next article:
Not 24 hours after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that a pre-emptive strike (by the US and/or Israel) would violate international law, Moscow put muscle into his warning: Tuesday, April 3, the Russian guided missile destroyer Smetliviy arrived in the Syrian port of Tartus from its Black Sea base for a naval exercise. The warship’s support group is on the way.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Russian flotilla carried a threefold message for Washington:
1. The Russian-Iranian strategy of propping up the Assad regime which has brought the Syrian ruler close to victory over his foes, will continue: Diplomacy will be propelled by military impetus.
2. Russia is providing the Assad regime with defense systems capable of repelling foreign military intervention.
3. Consigning the Smetliviy warship to Syria illustrates Moscow’s new rapid response policy: Russia is launching a naval exercise in the eastern Mediterranean to match the “Noble Dina”air and naval maneuver the US, Israel and Greece are conducting across a broad expanse of sea between Crete and the Israeli bases at Haifa and Ashdod.
US naval and aircraft but confronted suddenly by one of the largest destroyers in the Russian fleet (NATO-coded ASW-submarine warfare), whose decks are the launching base for anti-air, anti-ship and anti-submarine missiles.
The build-up to war continues in the Middle East.