An internal report prepared by Israel’s Foreign Ministry calls for an additional round of international sanctions against Iran, an Israeli official confirmed on Thursday, in what appeared to be a rare Israeli acknowledgment that there might still be time to try to stop the Iranian nuclear program by means other than military action.
Details of the report were leaked to Haaretz and were published on Thursday morning as the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, was on his way to New York to address the United Nations General Assembly. An Israeli official who is familiar with the report, but was not authorized to speak about it to it publicly, confirmed the points that appeared in Haaretz.
The Foreign Ministry report states that the international sanctions already imposed on Iran are having a deep effect on the country’s economy, according to the official, and may, according to some assessments, also be affecting the stability of the Iranian government. But the sanctions have not yet persuaded the government in Tehran to suspend its nuclear drive. Therefore, the report concludes that “another round of sanctions is needed,” the official said.
The question of how to deal with Iran’s nuclear drive has become an acute source of tension between Mr. Netanyahu and the Obama administration. Israel views a nuclear Iran as an existential threat. Mr. Netanyahu has argued that sanctions have not worked and that time is running out to stop Iran from achieving a nuclear military capability.
President Obama opposes military action at this point, saying that there is still “time and space” to resolve the issue through diplomacy and pledging that the United States will do what it must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Iran insists that its nuclear program is for purely civilian purposes.