heard yesterday

Bennett warns Iran deal will create ‘more violent’ Mideast

The Israeli prime minister made the comments at a gathering of the Conference of Presidents in Jerusalem on Sunday

Screenshot/Conference of Presidents

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned on Sunday that a potential U.S. return to a nuclear agreement with Iran “is likely to create a more violent and less stable Middle East” and that a new deal “will enrich [Iran’s] brutal and corrupt regime.”

Speaking at the 47th annual mission of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Bennett addressed a gala dinner of delegates on the current challenges facing both Israel and Jews in the Diaspora, reserving most of his comments for the burgeoning Iranian threat.

“There is no doubt that America will remain our biggest and strongest friend. However, ultimately, it is us who have to live in the region and it is us who will bear the consequences,” he stressed.

He added that Israel did not uniformly oppose an agreement between the world powers and Iran, representatives of which have been meeting in Vienna since last spring. Bennett noted that many who were in favor of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) have concerns about the prospect of an agreement at present.

“The Iranians have continued to cross one red line after another, and they are now enriching uranium beyond 60 percent,” Bennett said. “This is the hand that both the Israeli government and President Biden’s administration inherited, and there is no point playing the blame game of what went before. We need to address the challenge.”

Bennett added that Jerusalem was concerned over the “sunset provisions” in the 2015 agreement, which are set to expire in less than three years. Once those provisions expire, Bennett said, “Iran will be able to develop, install, and operate advanced centrifuges. Imagine football stadiums of advanced centrifuges spinning — which this agreement will allow… and it’s completely legal.”

Bennett also warned that tens of billions of dollars will soon be unfrozen and the resultant access to the booming energy market. “Much of this money will be funneled toward attacking Israel, our allies in the Middle East, and US soldiers — as they have already started to do.”

“There are three points that we’ll all need to address: The agreement leaves Iran with a fast-track to military-grade enrichment,” he said. “And in the time until it sunsets, they won’t even have to destroy all the centrifuges they have developed over the past few years. The Iranian regime is insisting on closing the open files of the IAEA — these are ‘hot investigations’ pertaining to possible military dimensions. Or in simple English, Iran has hidden and is still hiding nuclear weapon-related materials, it’s been caught red-handed, and Iran is demanding that the inspectors that caught them will pretend to forget what they saw. Finally, the agreement will pour money, billions of dollars into the Iranian terrorism machine — more UAVs, more attacks on ships, more rockets on Israel and our allies through its proxies.”

Bennett also suggested that Iranian negotiators demanded that the U.S. remove the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps from its list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO). The State Department declined to comment on Bennett’s remarks.

Bennett suggested that Israel would not accept Iran as a nuclear threshold state. “We have a clear and non-negotiable red line: Israel will always maintain its freedom of action; to defend itself.”