Official: Israel backs 'clever' sanctions policy against Iran after Saudi attack

Israel supports increased sanctions against Iran, Israel’s Consul General to New York Dani Dayan said on Wednesday, as fallout from the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities reverberated around the world.

On Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted that he instructed Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to “substantially increase sanctions on the country of Iran,” as evidence mounted that Tehran may have been involved in the drone assault that temporarily crippled Saudi production.

Speaking to Yahoo Finance, the official said that Israel “definitely supports the policy of sanctions.”

Although neither the U.S. or Saudi Arabia have announced plans to retaliate militarily, Dayan backed more economic pressure on Tehran as “the right thing to do.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “said that this year the GDP of Iran will decline by 12-14%. We think that’s good, not because — we like the Iranian people to thrive — we don’t have a conflict with the Iranian people.”

Dayan added that “the significance of that [is] Iran has less recourse to give to the proxy terrorists they support, to promote terrorism all over the world, to promote instability all over the world, to supply arms to Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations.”

In that context “it’s a very clever policy of the United States. Sanctions work. Sanctions against Iran work,” the ambassador said. “And as crippling as they are, they’re more important.”

A Saudi military officer walks by what was described asa the remains of Iranian cruise missiles and drones used in an attack this weekend that targeted the heart of Saudi Arabia's oil industry, during a press conference by military spokesman Col. Turki al-Malki in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. Though Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed the assault, the U.S. alleges Iran was behind it. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Dayan wouldn’t go so far as to call for military intervention in Israel, but he added that “Iran is a threat to the stability of the world” — including the U.S. and Israel.

Tehran has denied involvement in the drone attack on Saudi Arabia, but reports emerged that debris found implicate Iran, which backs Yemen’s Houthi rebels that have claimed responsibility for the attack.

Dayan said that even if Iran didn’t “push the button” themselves, Houthi rebels are a “proxy of Iran. They do nothing without Iran’s knowhow. They do nothing without Iran’s consent. Exactly like Hezbollah in our Northern border.”

Typically, Israel hasn’t commented on strikes made against Iran, however it has been reported that Israel has attacked Iran-backed sites in Syria.

In one publicly confirmed offensive, Israel says it struck sites in Syria to prevent Iran “using killer drones.”

Kristin Myers is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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