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Israel urges Iran oil embargo even without UN okay

Last Updated: Monday, February 22, 2010 - 21:01

Jerusalem: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Monday for an immediate embargo on Iran`s energy sector, saying the UN Security Council should be sidestepped if it cannot agree on the move.
Iran`s uranium enrichment in defiance of several rounds of Security Council sanctions has spurred world powers to consider tougher measures to halt what the West fears is a drive to produce nuclear weapons.

Israel has endorsed the talks while hinting at pre-emptive military action should it deem diplomacy a dead end.

If the world "is serious about stopping Iran, then what it needs to do is not watered-down sanctions, moderate sanctions ... but effective, biting sanctions that curtail the import and export of oil into Iran," Netanyahu said in a speech.

"This is what is required now. It may not do the job, but nothing else will, and at least we will have known that it`s been tried. And if this cannot pass in the Security Council, then it should be done outside the Security Council, but immediately."

Though it is the world`s fifth-largest oil exporter, Iran imports some 40 percent of its gasoline from foreign refineries.

Many Western diplomats believe that China, along with fellow veto-wielder Russia, would block any Security Council sanctions targeting Iran`s energy sector. Proposed sanctions for now focus on Iranian government assets like the Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Bureau Report

First Published: Monday, February 22, 2010 - 21:01

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