Olmert urges economic sanctions on Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in remarks published today that economic sanctions against Iran would force it to review its nuclear programme and compel neighbouring Turkey to “change” its relations with the country.

Olmert arrived in Turkey late yesterday for a two-day visit, hoping to discuss ways to rein in Iran’s suspected efforts to build nuclear weapons.

“If economic sanctions were imposed, Iran would be forced to review its position,” Olmert said in an interview with Turkey’s Milliyet newspaper.

“I believe that Turkey and many other countries will need to change their ties with Iran.”

The UN Security Council agreed in December to impose sanctions targeting people and programs linked to Iran’s nuclear programme, which the United States, the European Union and others fear is being used to make weapons.

Under the December 23 decision, Iran was given two months to return to negotiations.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was expected to press Olmert to ease restrictions on Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Erdogan criticised Israel for allowing construction near a disputed holy site in Jerusalem a day before Olmert’s arrival.

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