PM Bennett says Iran is in ‘the most advanced stage of its nuclear program’ while condemning efforts to revive the nuclear deal.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett indicated his readiness to intensify Israel’s confrontation with Iran, and on Tuesday reiterated that his country would not be bound by any new Iranian nuclear deal with world powers.
Indirect negotiations will begin on November 29 revives the 2015 agreement, from which former US President Donald Trump withdrew, who considers it insufficient to conclude projects with bombing potential – a view shared by the Israelis.
Iran, which denies seeking nuclear weapons, has violated its comprehensive uranium enrichment agreement since the US strike.
Bennett, who took power in June, described Iran in a speech as “the most advanced stage of its nuclear program”.
While his government had previously said it would be open to a new nuclear deal with stricter restrictions on Iran, Bennett reaffirmed Israel’s autonomy to take action against its arch-enemy.
“We face complicated times. It is possible that there will be disputes with the best of our friends, ”he told a television conference hosted by Reichman University.
“In any case, even if there is a return to an agreement, Israel is obviously not a party to the agreement and Israel is not bound by the agreement.”
Bennett expressed frustration over what he described as Israel’s smaller-scale clashes with Iran’s civilian allies.
“The Iranians surrounded the state of Israel with missiles while sitting safely in Tehran,” he said.
“To the terrorist sent by the [Iranian covert] Quds Force no longer pays fruit. We have to go for the sender. ”
Bennett has explicitly stopped threatening war, saying cyber technologies and what he considers Israel’s benefits as a democracy and international support can be brought.
“Iran is much more vulnerable than is generally thought,” he said.
Israel also sharpened its rhetoric against Iranian combat drones on Tuesday, which he said were two bases used to carry out maritime attacks with the remote-controlled aircraft, and offered to work with Arab partners on countermeasures.
Arab Gulf states share Israeli concern over such drones as they see the hand of Iran or its allies in airstrikes on shipping or on energy facilities in Saudi Arabia. Tehran has often denied such allegations.
“Today I reveal to you two central bases in the area of Chabahar and Qeshm Island in southern Iran, from where operations were launched in the maritime arena, and where advanced Shahed attack drones are being deployed today,” Israeli Minister of defense Benny Gantz said at a television security conference.
Separately, the head of Israel’s air force suggested working with Arab partners – such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, with which Israel formalized ties last year – against the drone threat.
“It thinks it’s a great opportunity to make contacts and to build a defense plan for all the countries that have a common interest in protecting themselves,” Major General Amikam Norkin told the conference, presented by the Reichman University.
“We can help significantly [against drones], whether in terms of intelligence, detection or interception. ”