Israeli MP Says Sanctions May Defeat Iran

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The best way to deal with the problem of Iran would be with sanctions that could help topple the government there, an Israeli member of parliament said yesterday.

Ephraim Sneh said Iran imports 40% of its gasoline and that cutting off the flow “may help the Iranian people to overthrow the regime.”

“They don’t like their regime,” he said. “The easiest, the cheapest thing to do to solve the problem is to do what the Iranian people want to do, what they should do.”

America and Israel have both been grappling with Iran’s support for terrorist organizations and its effort to become a nuclear power.

Yet, Mr. Sneh asked with apparent impatience, “Who is doing something serious about toppling the regime?”

Mr. Sneh is a member of Israel’s Labor Party and was in New York speaking to a small group convened by the Israel Policy Forum, a left-of-center group.

He said Israel’s recent clash with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Northern Israel “was actually a war with Iran,” part of a “new world war between Islamic fundamentalism and Western democracy.”

He said that, as long as the regime in Iran remains in power, “the next round is unavoidable, and we have to win.”

As for the Palestinian Arabs, Mr. Sneh said: “There is no compromise with Hamas because they are religiously committed to the destruction of the Jewish state.” He was more optimistic about the PLO leader, Mahmoud Abbas.

Asked about criticism by Human Rights Watch that alleged Israel had indiscriminately bombed and caused civilian casualties in Lebanon, Mr. Sneh said, “Morally, it is Hezbollah that should be blamed” for the civilian casualties.

A former deputy defense minister, Mr. Sneh said he did not know of another air force that was as careful about avoiding civilian casualties as Israel’s is.

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