Netanyahu calls for 'crippling' Iran sanctions

By Jessica Elgot, February 9, 2010

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has called for “crippling sanctions” against Iran in a meeting with European ambassadors in Israel.

His call to EU leaders comes as Tehran announced it would begin enriching uranium to 20 per cent, rather than the 3.5 per cent it is currently producing.

The technology used to enrich uranium to this level is very similar to that needed to make a nuclear bomb, about 80 to 90 per cent.

Mr Netanyahu said: "Iran is racing forward to produce nuclear weapons, in brazen defiance of international law.

“What is required right now is tough action by the international community. This means not moderate sanctions, or watered-down sanctions. This means crippling sanctions and these sanctions must be applied right now."

He added: "In the last two days leaders of the Iranian brutal regime have called for the annihilation of the state of Israel. Israel expects any responsible government in the world, certainly your own governments, to harshly condemn these statements. But it takes more than words."

A US spokesman said that Washington believed new sanctions against Iran were inevitable and they would ask the UN Security Council to approve potential sanctions “within weeks”.

Last updated: 3:35pm, February 9 2010