Israel’s Naftali Bennett warns of threats to the Middle East from nuclear Iran

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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said at a US summit Thursday that Iran’s nuclear advances could lead the rest of the Middle East to develop their own nuclear weapons and called for a united front to keep up pressure on Tehran.

“Imagine if Iran goes nuclear. They will get Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the entire Middle East nuclear, ”said Bennett, who spoke virtually at the annual United Against Nuclear Iran conference based in New York.

“This is a huge threat to world peace.”

His remarks came a day after the US and Iran agreed to resume indirect talks to revitalize the 2015 nuclear deal – formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – which curtailed Tehran’s nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions.

Mr Bennett, who opposes any deal with Iran, called for a united front.

“We have to keep our pressure on Iran,” said Bennett. “And we must remain united in our efforts.”

The nuclear deal, a hallmark of former President Barack Obama’s foreign policy agenda, was quickly reversed by his successor Donald Trump.

Under Trump, the US imposed heavy sanctions on Iran, and Tehran subsequently violated many of the terms of the agreement and enriched more uranium at higher levels.

President Joe Biden‘s administration had hoped to revive the deal earlier this year, but initial dialogue stalled after the election of Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s new president.

The indirect talks between the US and Iran are expected to resume on November 29 in Vienna and will be led by EU envoy Enrique Mora, who led the previous rounds of negotiations.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said it was possible that progress could be made quickly during the talks.

“We believe that we can do this in a relatively short time if the Iranians are serious,” said Price.

“But we also made it clear to ourselves that this time window will not be open forever as this break has been dragging on for some time.”

Updated: November 4, 2021 at 3:43 pm


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