Bennett: Without Western pressure, Iran ‘dangerously’ close to nuclear weapons

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As tensions between Iran and the West escalated this week, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned in an interview published Saturday that without more pressure from the West, Tehran was getting “dangerously” closer to producing a nuclear weapon.

“Iran is enriching uranium at an unprecedented rate and is getting dangerously close to getting its hands on nuclear weapons,” he said. UK Telegraph in an interview earlier in the week.

Bennett called on the world community to join Israel in stepping up pressure against Iran’s nuclear program and ambitions.

“Without pressure from the West, the Islamic regime in Iran could very soon get its hands on a nuclear bomb,” he said. “The world must take a firm stance and say to the Islamic regime in Iran: no nuclear weapons, no sanctions. Iran’s nuclear program will not stop until it is stopped.

In the article, the Telegraph also reported that Israel had asked the UK to establish a so-called ‘tripwire’ mechanism to initiate tougher sanctions against Iran if it continued its nuclear program. current.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, second from right, listens to an explanation while looking at an advanced centrifuge during an exhibition on Iran’s nuclear achievements in Tehran, Iran, April 9, 2022. (Iranian President’s Office)

According to the Telegraph, this mechanism will be separate from any possible future agreement between Tehran and the West.

Bennett’s comments came after the UN’s nuclear watchdog earlier this week formally censored Iran for its nuclear program on Wednesday, hours after the Islamic Republic said it had disconnected some of the cameras from the International Atomic Energy Agency monitoring its nuclear sites.

Rafael Mariano Grossi, the director general of the IAEA, warned that in three to four weeks he would be unable to maintain a “continuity of knowledge” on the Iranian program. “It would be a fatal blow” to Iran’s tattered nuclear deal negotiations with world powers, Grossi said.

Iran followed that up on Thursday by announcing that it had started injecting gas into newly installed advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges.

The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Mohammad Eslami, who made the announcement during an interview on Iranian state television, said the decision was in line with international regulations.

Eslami did not specify where the centrifuges in question were located. But his announcement came the same day the UN nuclear watchdog reported that Tehran had informed it of plans to install two new advanced centrifuge cascades at the underground Natanz nuclear facility that will allow it to quickly enrich more uranium.

The move by Iran’s atomic agency came ahead of the censorship’s ratification, drafted after the Vienna-based IAEA raised concerns about traces of enriched uranium previously found at three sites that Tehran had not declared as having hosted nuclear activities.

Iran struck the deal limiting its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief – but the deal has been about life support since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from it in 2018.

Tehran, which denies wanting to build a nuclear bomb, has given up on some of its own commitments since 2019.

European capitals have expressed growing concern about the extent to which Iran has resumed nuclear activities since the United States began reimposing sanctions in 2018.

A person involved in security at the uranium conversion facility just outside the city of Isfahan, Iran, March 30, 2005. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Iran has built up large stockpiles of enriched uranium, some of which are enriched to levels well above those needed for nuclear power generation.

Talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal began in April 2021 with the aim of bringing the United States back, lifting sanctions and getting Iran to return to the limits it had agreed on its nuclear activities. .

But negotiations have stalled in recent months and the European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, warned last weekend that the possibility of returning to the deal was “shrinking”.

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