Bennett Says Israel 'Troubled' by Iran Deal, Warns It Would Create 'A More Violent Mideast'

Bennett says the deal would 'pour billions of dollars into the Iranian terror machine,' adding that 'there's no doubt that America is our biggest and strongest friend, ultimately it's us who live in the region'

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Bennett speaking at the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem, February 20, 2022.
Bennett speaking at the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem, February 20, 2022. Credit: Amos Ben Gershom / GPO
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Sunday that Israel "is deeply troubled" by the new agreement taking shape on Iran's nuclear program and warned that it is "likely to create a more violent and less stable Middle East."

Delivering a speech to the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, Bennett said that "Israel won't accept Iran as a nuclear threshold state." He added that Israel has a "clear and unnegotiable red line: it will always maintain its freedom of action to defend itself.

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"While there's no doubt that America is our biggest and strongest friend, ultimately it's us who live in the region, and it's us who'll bear the consequences," Bennett told members of the American organization.

And while Israel is not automatically opposed to any deal whatsoever, "[w]e are looking to Vienna, and we are deeply troubled by what we see," Bennett said.

The "single biggest problem" with the deal, he asserted, is that after two and a half years, "Iran will be able to develop, install and operate advanced centrifuges."

The Iranians have "crossed one red line after another, including enriching at an unprecedented rate of 60 percent," he went on to say.

Bennett also warned that the deal will pour billions of dollars into "the Iranian terror machine," "leaves Iran with a fast track to military-grade enrichment" and won't require them to destroy the centrifuges it has build in recent years.

Furthermore, he said, Tehran is demanding that the International Atomic Energy Agency close its open investigations, which he described as "'hot investigations' pertaining to possible military dimensions."

Earlier Sunday, Bennett told cabinet members that the emerging deal was "shorter and weaker" than the 2015 deal.

"We may see an agreement in a short while," Bennett said at the start of a weekly cabinet meeting. "We're preparing for the day after on all levels, so that we can keep Israeli citizens safe on our own."

Since the 2015 agreement was signed, "the Iranians have significantly increased their enrichment capabilities," Bennett said. The new agreement would "only buy us two and a half years, after which Iran may develop and install advanced centrifuges without any restrictions."

Last week, Israeli officials said that Iran and world powers are “very likely” to sign an agreement soon.

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