Israeli PM Implies Iran Deal Won't Stop Israeli Strike This photo released Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021, by the Iranian Army, shows a missile being fired during a military drill at an undisclosed location in Iran. (Iranian Army via AP)
By Jeremy Frankel | Sunday, 06 February 2022 10:32 PM
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett implied Sunday during a weekly cabinet meeting that Israel could possibly launch a military strike against the Islamic Republic even if the 2015 Iran nuclear deal was to be revived.
"The greatest threat against the State of Israel is Iran," Bennett said during the cabinet meeting in Jerusalem.
"As the government, we are responsible for dealing with the Iranian nuclear program and, of course, we are monitoring the Vienna talks. Our position is well-known and clear: An agreement – according to the apparent terms – will damage the ability to deal with the nuclear program. Anyone who thinks that an agreement will increase stability is mistaken. It will temporarily delay enrichment but all of us in the region will pay a heavy, disproportionate price for it."
Bennett also accused Iran of ramping up its hostility recently throughout the region and said, this is "how you conduct negotiations, Tehran-style," adding that "we are currently closing gaps and building up Israel’s military strength for years and even decades to come. Israel will maintain freedom of action in any case, with or without an agreement."
Bennett’s statements come as the Vienna talks, the goal of which is to save the 2015 deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), continue. U.S. negotiators traveled back to Vienna Friday, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken signed sanctions waivers related to the Islamic Republic’s civilian nuclear activities. The waivers are intended to coax Iran to begin to comply with the JCPOA.
Since former President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed U.S. sanctions on Iran, the Islamic Republic has demanded that all sanctions relief under the JCPOA be restored in order for it to return to compliance.