Steinitz, Geithner agree to establish joint forum monitoring Iran economy

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz met with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and agreed to establish a bilateral forum that would periodically assess the effects of sanctions on Iran.

Steinitz in his meeting Monday with Geithner said Israel believed further sanctions were necessary, as well as a credible military threat, in order to persuade Iran to shut down its suspected nuclear weapons program.

“It was agreed at the meeting that a permanent American-Israel forum would be established that will periodically assess the effect of sanctions on the Iranian economy and would review ways to increase the economic pressure,” a statement from Steinitz’s office said.

Steinitz also outlined at the meeting Israel’s policies on transferring funds to the Palestinians.

Steinitz had threatened before the Palestinians enhanced their United Nations status to non-member state to stop transferring taxes should they do so. Subsequent to the Nov. 29, 2012 U.N. General Assembly vote, however, he withheld only $180 million to cover Palestinian debts to Israel’s electricity provider, and continued other payments.

At the meeting, Steinitz also thanked Geithner for extending $4 billion in U.S. loan guarantees.

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