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Israeli PM tells UN Iran crossed red lines

·1-min read

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says that Iran had crossed "all red lines" in its nuclear program and vowed that Israel would not allow the country to acquire a nuclear weapon.

In his first speech before the United Nations General Assembly, Bennett said Iran sought to dominate the Middle East under a "nuclear umbrella" and urged a more concerted international effort to halt Iran's nuclear activities.

But he also hinted at the potential for Israel to act on its own against Iran, something it has repeatedly threatened in the past.

"Iran's nuclear program has hit a watershed moment, and so has our tolerance," Bennett said.

"Words do not stop centrifuges from spinning."

Bennett, who ended Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year run as prime minister in June, wants US President Joe Biden to harden his stance against Iran, Israel's regional arch-foe.

He opposes the US administration's efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that Biden's White House predecessor Donald Trump abandoned in 2018.

Indirect US-Iran talks in Vienna have stalled as the superpower awaits the next move by Iran's new president, Ebrahim Raisi.

Bennett struck a less combative tone before the United Nations than Netanyahu, who often relied on props and visual aids to dramatise his accusations against Iran, an approach that critics derided as political stunts.

But Bennett has been just as adamant as Netanyahu was in pledging to do whatever is necessary to prevent Iran, which Israel views as an existential threat, from building a nuclear weapon.

Iran consistently denies it is seeking a bomb.

"Iran's nuclear weapons program is at a critical point. All red lines have been crossed, inspections ignored," Bennett said.

"They're getting away with it."

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