WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday urged the United States and the world to impose “crippling sanctions” on refined petroleum on Iran to prevent it from developing a nuclear weapon.
“If you stop Iran from importing refined petroleum — that’s a fancy word for gasoline — then Iran simply doesn’t have refining capacity and this regime comes to a halt,” Netanyahu said on ABC’s “Good Morning America” program.
The United States is leading a push in the United Nations to apply another round of sanctions against Iran in an effort to stop it from pursuing a nuclear program that Western nations believe is aimed at building atomic weapons.
Tehran says its program is designed to produce electricity for civilian use.
Calling the standoff with Iran “the biggest issue facing our times,” Netanyahu said the international community could deliver “crippling sanctions,” without the support of China and Russia, both permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.
“You’re left doing it outside the Security Council,” Netanyahu said. “There’s a coalition of the willing and you can have very powerful sanctions.”
Asked whether President Barack Obama had given assurances Washington would go along with refined oil sanctions and other restrictions, Netanyahu said: “What the United States has said is that they’re determined to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, and I think that’s an important statement.”
The Israeli leader said his country would prefer that the international community led by the United States stop Iran’s nuclear program.
Netanyahu acknowledged that relations between the United States and Israel have gone through a bumpy patch lately, but he said the overall relationship between the two countries remained “rock solid.”
Editing by Paul Simao