Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told the United Nations General Assembly that Iran’s nuclear program had crossed “all red lines” for his country.
He accused Iran of seeking to dominate the Middle East by creating a nuclear umbrella over the region, and insisted that Israel would not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.
He also hinted at the possibility of Israel acting alone in the face of Iran, something that his country has repeatedly threatened in the past.
“Iran’s nuclear program has reached a watershed moment and so has our tolerance,” Bennett said. “Words don’t stop centrifuges from spinning.”
Tehran ramped up its nuclear enrichment program after the United States withdrew from a 2015 accord limiting Iran’s nuclear activities.
The International Atomic Energy Agency of the United Nations raised concerns on Sunday that Iran had not allowed its inspectors to visit one of its facilities.
Bennett, the right-wing politician who ended the Benjamin Netanyahu era as prime minister, wants President Joe Biden to take a tougher stance on Iran, Israel’s regional archenemy.
Bennett opposes the new US administration’s efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal, which former US President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018.
Indirect talks between the United States and Iran have stalled in Vienna, and Washington is still waiting for the next step by the new Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi.
Bennett’s tone was less strident at the United Nations than Netanyahu’s. But he remained adamant, like Netanyahu, on his pledge to do everything in his power to prevent Iran, which Israel views as an existential threat, from building a nuclear weapon.
Iran has consistently denied that it is seeking a nuclear bomb.