Prime Minister Naftali Bennett yesterday reaffirmed Israel’s ability to maintain “unrestrained freedom” in addressing threats from Iran, regardless of any deal between Tehran and other nations.
“Regarding the nuclear talks in Vienna, we are certainly concerned. It is important for me to say here clearly and unequivocally: Israel is not a party to the agreements,” Bennett told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday.
“Israel will maintain unlimited and unrestricted freedom of action, everywhere and at all times,” he added.
The comments come as representatives from the US and other nations recently gathered in Vienna to discuss plans to renew the 2015 nuclear plan with Iran, originally intended to keep Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
The plan ended in 2018 after then-US president Donald Trump led the US to abandon the plan after Iran broken the agreement on several occasions. After President Joe Biden took office almost a year ago, a new openness to renew the agreement began, though leaders have been hesitant to make a specific decision regarding how to move forward on a new plan.
Bennett’s words served as a clear reminder that Israel plans to remain ready for all options, regardless of decisions made regarding the Iranian deal. Defense Minister Benny Gantz has been diplomatic in his efforts, noting the nation would be favorable toward a new deal, but that a bad deal would be worse than no deal at all. Ganz also emphasized Israel will maintain the ability to act as needed to counter any Iranian threats.
According to earlier reports, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Director Mohammad Eslami said in December that his nation has no plans to enrich uranium beyond 60 percent, even if the Vienna talks do not move forward. However, based on Iran’s ongoing rate of uranium enrichment toward 60 percent, stonewalling international inspection efforts, and apparent efforts to stall the talks while clandestinely pursuing further enrichment, the on-again-off-again Vienna talks are more reasonably seen as the Iranian Mullahs’ smokescreen covering Iran’s true nuclear ambitions.