Bennett Says Israel Has 'Shifted Gear' on Iran

Bennett expects the UN watchdog to 'issue a clear warning sign' to Tehran over unabated enrichment ■ Iranian general threatens to 'raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground' if Israel makes 'any mistake'

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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett during a security council meeting in January.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett during a security council meeting in January.Credit: Noam Moshkovitz / Knesset Spokesperson

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Tuesday that Israel has "shifted gear" when it comes to Iran, adding that he expects the UN's nuclear watchdog to impose "a heavy price" for Tehran's violations.

"We expect the Board of Governors will issue a clear warning sign to the regime in Tehran and make clear that if they continue their defiant nuclear policy, they will pay a heavy price," Bennett told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, following a surprise visit from the International Atomic Energy Agency director Rafael Grossi to Israel on Thursday.

"The days in which Iran repeatedly hurts Israel, spreads terror through branches in our area, and comes out unharmed, are over," the prime minister said. "We are operating everywhere, at all times, and we will continue doing so."

"We see the brave Iranian people taking to the streets, protesting the oppression of the tyrannical regime, the hunger and corruption that harm them," he added.

Bennett spoke about the progress Iran has made with its nuclear program "crossing red lines… with no counter reaction," referring to Iran beginning to enrich uranium to 60 percent purity in April 2021.

Also on Tuesday, Iran's regular army ground forces' commander Kiumars Heydari threatened to "raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground," if Israel "makes any mistake," according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

In their meeting on Thursday, Bennett told agency chief Grossi that Israel would prefer a diplomatic resolution to the standoff over the Iranian nuclear program but would be willing to take independent action.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that Grossi's visit to Israel is in conflict with his agency's "impartiality," the Islamic Republic's state media reported. He said that any Western move made against Tehran in the IAEA will be met by Iran's "immediate response."

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