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Battered Israel relieved to take back seat on Iran sanctions

While Israel had called for 'crippling' Iran sanctions, in the wake of its fatal Gaza flotilla raid officials knows they have little political capital to push for more aggressive action than the US has taken.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at an economic forum in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday. Israel had called for 'crippling' economic sanctions, including a ban on buying oil and gas from Iran.

Jonathan Shaul/AP

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised President Barack Obama for securing a fourth round of Iran sanctions, even though many here say that the measures are not sufficient to prompt Tehran to change course.

"It's an important first symbolic step,'' says Zalman Shoval, a former Israeli ambassador to the US and a member of a team of foreign policy advisers to Netanyahu. "It shows Iran and its supporters that most of the world is determined to oppose Iran's nuclear efforts, but a great deal more will be needed in order to make sanctions effective…. Obviously time is running out.''

Israel had called for "crippling" economic sanctions, including a ban on buying oil and gas from Iran. But in the wake of Israel's fatal Gaza flotilla raid, officials here seem resigned to the fact that there's little they can do to accelerate the gradualist approach of the US.

IN PICTURES: The Gaza flotilla and the aftermath of the Israeli naval raid

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