Israel’s Bennett says Iran ‘lying’ about nuclear programme
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Friday accused Iran of “lying to the world” about its nuclear programme, days after the UN atomic watchdog criticised Tehran for lack of cooperation.
A strongly worded report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said its monitoring at Iranian nuclear sites had been “seriously undermined” by Tehran’s suspension of some inspections since February.
“Israel views with utmost gravity the picture of the situation reflected in the report,” Bennett said in a statement.
The IAEA report, he said, “proves that Iran is continuing to lie to the world and advance a programme to develop nuclear weapons, while denying its international commitments”.
Tuesday’s report also said that Iran had boosted its stocks of uranium enriched above the levels allowed in the 2015 deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Bennett called for “appropriate and rapid international reaction to the severe actions of Iran”.
“Only a vigorous stand by the international community, backed up by decisions and actions, will be able to lead to a change by the regime in Tehran, which has lost all restraint,” he said.
“Israel will do everything to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons,” Bennett added.
The IAEA report came as talks remain locked in Vienna on saving the deal between Iran and world powers that gave Tehran relief from international sanctions in return for tight controls on its nuclear programme, monitored by the UN.
The JCPOA was torpedoed by former US president Donald Trump’s unilateral decision to withdraw the United States from it in 2018 and impose sanctions.
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