NEW YORK - Israel is not just talking, it is taking action against Iran in the present, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a briefing to journalists on his delegation to New York, following his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Monday.
Iran’s pace of advancement towards a nuclear weapon is “unacceptable,” and Israel’s approach is “not just apocalyptic warnings, but initiative. We mean what we say,” Bennett said.
“We are acting in the present and will continue. I believe that consistent and determined action can make a difference,” he stated.
In his speech at the UN, the prime minister mentioned that Iran is enriching uranium to 60%, one step away from weapons-grade material, and warned that “Iran’s nuclear weapon program is at a critical point. All redlines have been crossed. Inspections – ignored. All wishful thinking – proven false. Iran is violating the [International Atomic Energy Agency’s] safeguard agreements – and it’s getting away with it.
“Iran’s nuclear program has hit a watershed moment – and so has our tolerance,” he said. “Words do not stop centrifuges from spinning.”
Bennett pointed out that he had said in his UN speech that Iran is more vulnerable than it seems because they are “a rotten regime, alienated [from its people and] cannot function: not in coronavirus, not in providing water and electricity to large parts of the country. They’re corrupt.”
Those vulnerabilities give Israel leverage to try to stop the regime’s malign actions, he added.
Bennett said in his speech that Iran’s military drone unit threatens the entire world, mentioning the attack on the Mercer Street vessel – in which Iranian suicide drones killed a British and a Romanian citizen – as well as its proxy armies throughout the Middle East, which it plans to arm with thousands of deadly unmanned aerial vehicles.
He later said that he referred specifically to Iran’s UAVs, because “it costs little, causes great damage and allows them to deny involvement. They give it to their proxies, which creates an asymmetric situation. It doesn’t cost a lot to use UAVs, but it costs a lot to defend against them.”
In the UN, Bennett said that “Iran’s great goal is crystal clear to anybody who cares to open their eyes: Iran seeks to dominate the region and seeks to do so under a nuclear umbrella.”
He pointed to places in which “Iran has spread its carnage and destruction” – Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Gaza – and said they are all in crisis.
“Like the Midas touch, Iran’s regime has the ‘Mullah-touch.’ Every place Iran touches, fails,” the prime minister quipped.
Bennett also referred to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s history of heading a “death commission” that ordered the murder of 5,000 political activists - and then celebrating the deaths by pocketing the victims’ money and eating cream puffs.
“He celebrated the murder of his own people, by devouring cream cakes,” Bennett emphasized. “And now Raisi is Iran’s new president. This is who we’re dealing with.”