Israel official praises world block on Iran banks

AP News
Posted: Mar 16, 2012 3:55 AM
Israel official praises world block on Iran banks

Israel's deputy prime minister has welcomed new financial measures against Iran, saying his government's lobbying helped bring them about.

Silvan Shalom told Israel Radio on Friday that "sanctions on Iran were too soft for a long time."

His remarks follow a move announced Thursday by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication _ or SWIFT _ that it would block 30 Iranian banks from its global network.

This makes it difficult for Iran to make international money transfers and will likely hurt its vital oil trade.

Iran claims its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. Israel and the West believe Tehran is trying to build nuclear weapons.

Israeli leaders have increasingly warned of a possible military strike. The US says sanctions and diplomacy must be given more time.