Lithuania’s formin calls on West to step up sanctions against Iran after attack on Israel

  • 2024-04-15
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis says the West must impose new sanctions on Iran after the attack on Israel.

“We must immediately strengthen sanctions against Iran for its regional destabilizing behavior and support for Russia's aggression against Ukraine," the minister told a joint press conference with his Dutch counterpart in Vilnius on Monday.

Late Saturday, Iran launched a direct attack on its arch foe Israel for the first time, firing more than 300 missiles and drones.

Iran said its attack came in response to a deadly April 1 air strike on Tehran's consulate building in Syria's capital Damascus that was widely blamed on Israel.

Lithuania and many other countries around the world have condemned Iran's unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel, warning that the attack could further destabilize the Middle East.

“Further escalation and its spread would have catastrophic consequences both for the Middle East region and for Ukraine, which is defending itself against Russian aggression. However, it is evident that Iran, like Russia, feels emboldened by the West's indecision," Landsbergis said.

Dutch Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot urged Middle Eastern countries to refrain from further escalation.


Israel and its allies intercepted the vast majority of incoming projectiles before they reached the country’s territory, the Israeli army said. Israel was aided by the US, Jordan, UK and other allies in repelling the attack.

Meanwhile, the Lithuanian top diplomat pointed out that this assistance would inevitably come to the attention of the Ukrainians.

“Western assistance provided air security to a non-NATO partner, Israel. I think that the Ukrainians will raise this question, and rightly so: if such assistance was provided to Israel, can it be provided to Ukraine? I think this could strengthen their case for the need for additional air defenses", Landsbergis said.

According to him, the attack on Israel, the war in Ukraine and the tensions in South-East Asia are not “isolated incidents”.

“We are seeing autocratic, imperialist, aggressive regimes getting bolder, they are getting braver," the minister noted.

“We may see more of this in the future, which is why Lithuania stresses that assistance to Ukraine is not only about Ukraine, not only about the region, it is about ensuring global stability by demonstrating the credibility of the West.”

According to Landsbergis, the West should draw red lines not for itself, but for the aggressors.


Landsbergis also expressed hope that a greater escalation in the Middle East would probably be avoided, as it could otherwise divert the West's attention away from Ukraine.

“If we have to talk about hypothetical scenarios, if the war in the Middle East were to escalate into a full-scale conflict ..., one could easily agree that this would divide our attention, but it is a hypothetical scenario. This seems to be avoided for the time being", the minister said.

Meanwhile, the top diplomat of the Netherlands stated that the security of the whole of Europe depended on Kyiv's victory over the Kremlin and that the focus on Ukraine could not be reduced.

“I’m convinced of the power of [Vladimir] Putin's hunger – if he gets Ukraine, it won’t be enough. Our stability and security – as the Netherlands, but also as Europe as a whole – is intertwined with very courageous fight that Ukrainians fight every day,” she said.

The Dutch foreign minister stressed that Ukraine's victory must remain at the top of the list of priorities, despite conflicts in other parts of the world.