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Iran crossed all 'red lines', Israel PM tells UN

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks during the weekly cabinet meeting at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem, on September 5, 2021 [SEBASTIAN SCHEINER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks during the weekly cabinet meeting at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem, on September 5, 2021 [SEBASTIAN SCHEINER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images]

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said today that Iran had crossed "all red lines" in its nuclear programme and vowed that Israel would not allow Tehran to acquire a nuclear weapon, Reuters reports.

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 programme has hit a watershed moment, and so has our tolerance," Bennett said. "Words do not stop centrifuges from spinning."

Bennett, a far-right politician 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 new US administration's efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that Biden's White House predecessor, Donald Trump, abandoned in 2018.

READ: Iran's intelligence minister warns US and Israeli bases in Kurdistan

Indirect US-Iran talks in Vienna have stalled as Washington 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 denies it is seeking a bomb.

"Iran's nuclear weapons programme 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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