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Israeli leader censures Europe for pursuing trade with Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, Israel, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP)

JERUSALEM – Israel’s prime minister is lashing out at European countries for joining a body that would allow some trading with Iran despite U.S. sanctions.

Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday in a video statement that European countries “should be ashamed of themselves” for seeking to trade with Iran. He says the countries were enabling Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

Last week, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden said they were joining INSTEX, a body designed to facilitate European trade with Iran.

INSTEX was created by Germany, France and Britain to coordinate import and export payments so European companies can do business with Iran despite U.S. pressure, and thereby convince Tehran to stick to a 2015 deal that limits its nuclear efforts.

Iran has given INSTEX a cool reception in part because it doesn’t include vital oil trade.