Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told Iran International that Israel is “committed to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons”.
In a brief interview while in New York for the UN General Assembly, Netanyahu said “the Ayatollah regime having nuclear weapons… should be a concern of all civilized nations.”
He refused to comment on what Israel would do next if the Islamic Republic were to ignore the UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, and the international community and carry on with the program.
“We will prevent them,” he said, insisting that the unscheduled, on-the-go interview wasn’t the ‘form’ for a more specific answer.
Netanyahu and other senior Israeli officials have repeatedly suggested that they would consider all options to stop Iran having nuclear weapons.
The topic surfaced once more on Wednesday when President Biden and Netanyahu met in New York. And Netanyahu was much clearer in that meeting.
“That shared goal of ours can be best achieved by a credible military threat, crippling sanctions, and supporting the brave men and women of Iran who despise that regime and who are our real partners for a better future,” he said.
The authorities in Iran have always maintained that Iran’s nuclear activities are peaceful. Raisi reiterated this in his speech at the UN General Assembly, condemning the US for ‘breaking the promise’ and leaving the JCPOA nuclear accord.
As Iran has accumulated more than 100 kg of uranium enriched to 60 percent and continues to refine more, concerns have risen. Tehran also banned several IAEA inspectors this month, which was condemned by the United States and its European allies.
Earlier this week, UN nuclear chief Rafael Grossi told Iran International that such measures make it impossible for IAEA to verify the nature of Iran's nuclear program. He said he would try to meet Raisi to ask him to reverse the decision to expel “a very sizable chunk” of the agency’s inspectors.
But Iran’s President sounded unaffected by the warnings. On his last day in New York, Raisi said the Islamic Republic would not bar inspectors, “but if trust is lost in some inspectors, then the distrusted will be returned.”
Critics of Biden policy on Iran say his soft approach has emboldened the Islamic Republic to pursue a more aggressive strategy in the region, especially after receiving $6 billion in frozen oil revenues.
“The West may think providing carrots—$6 billion—to Khamenei’s regime will lead to de-escalation,” Kasra Aarabi, director of United Against Nuclear Iran, posted on X, “but it’s having the opposite effect. It’s resulted in an overinflated sense of confidence in Tehran, which will increase the regime’s recklessness & strategic errors.”
Last month, Netanyahu blamed Iran for a terror attack that killed a mother of three near Hebron. “We are in the midst of a terrorist assault,” he said, directed and financed by Iran and its proxies”.
That attack in Hebron was celebrated by Hamas officials in Gaza –who are supported by the Islamic Republic.
Israel is trying to reach a peaceful settlement with Arab countries to put more pressure on Palestinians and isolate Iran. Netanyahu emphasized this in his latest meeting with Biden in New York.
“I think that under your leadership, Mr. President, we can forge a historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia,” he said. “And I think such a peace would go a long way… to advance the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict… and advance a genuine peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”