May 20, 2022, Friday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Raisi win a ‘wake up’ call over Iran nuclear deal : Israeli PM

The Nepal Weekly
June 23, 2021

The Nepal Weekly | June 22, 2021

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has condemned the new Iranian president as a “hangman”, describing Ebrahim Raisi’s election win as a final “wake up” call for world powers before returning to a nuclear deal with Tehran.

Bennett made the comments on Sunday as he opened his first cabinet meeting since swearing in his new coalition government last week.

Hardline judiciary chief Raisi was elected as Iran’s next president on Saturday with 62 percent of the vote amid a historically low voter turnout. He is sanctioned by the United States in part over his involvement in the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, at the end of the Iran-Iraq war. Raisi has not commented specifically on the event.

Bennett said at the cabinet meeting in Jerusalem that “of all the people that (Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali) Khamenei could have chosen, he chose the hangman of Tehran, the man infamous among Iranians and across the world for leading the death committees that executed thousands of innocent Iranian citizens throughout the years.”

Iran and world powers resumed indirect talks in Vienna on Sunday to resurrect Tehran’s tattered 2015 nuclear deal, which granted Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme.

Iranian and American diplomats have been negotiating a return to the accord in the Austrian capital through European intermediaries since April.

The important nuclear deal between world powers and Iran, which Israel opposed, collapsed after former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from the accord in 2018.

That decision has seen Iran, over time, abandon every limitation on enrichment and Tehran is currently enriching uranium at its highest levels ever, though still short of weapons-grade levels.

Bennett said Raisi’s election as Iranian president was “the last chance for the world powers to wake up before returning to the nuclear agreement and to understand who they’re doing business with”.

“These guys are murderers, mass murderers: a regime of brutal hangmen must never be allowed to have weapons of mass destruction that will enable it to not kill thousands, but millions,” he said.

Israel has long stated that it opposes arch-enemy Iran’s nuclear programme and said it would prevent Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear programme is intended for peaceful purposes.

Earlier this month, Israel’s outgoing Mossad intelligence chief signaled that Israel was behind a string of recent attacks targeting the country’s nuclear programme.

Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from West Jerusalem, said Bennett’s statements were both aimed at an international audience and designed to shore up his credentials at home as being tough on Iran.

Bennett heads a broad coalition of parties ranging from Jewish ultranationalists to liberal factions and an Arab party that unseated longtime prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and sent him to the opposition for the first time in 12 years.

“The fact that [Bennett] made the remarks in English was quite interesting given that he was speaking to his cabinet, the kind of [meeting] in which you would see his predecessor Benjamin Netanyahu speaking in Hebrew,” Fawcett said. “So this is obviously a message designed for the wider world – a message designed to push things in Israel’s favour in terms of the possibility of resumption of Iran’s nuclear deal.”