Iran’s Nuclear Program at ‘Watershed’ Moment, Bennett Warns UN General Assembly
Israel Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned on Monday that Iran’s nuclear program has crossed “all red lines” and is at a “critical moment,” one that calls for a global plan of action to stop Tehran.
“Iran’s nuclear program has hit a watershed moment; and so has our tolerance. Words do not stop centrifuges from spinning,” Bennett said during his first speech to the United Nations General Assembly. “We will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.”
Bennett criticized Iran for enriching uranium to the level of 60%, just short of weapons-grade material, while inspections have been “ignored.”
“Iran’s great goal is crystal clear to anybody who cares to open their eyes: Iran seeks to dominate the region — and seeks to do so under a nuclear umbrella,” Bennett said. “Israel is, quite literally, surrounded by Hezbollah, Shia militias, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas. These terror groups seek to dominate the Middle East and spread radical Islam across the world. They all want to destroy my country, and they are all backed by Iran.”
During his speech, Bennett referred to Israel as a “miracle of Jewish revival … lighthouse in a stormy sea, a beacon of democracy… eager to contribute to the world despite being in the toughest neighborhood on earth.”
Bennett also cautioned that Iranian terror does not pose a threat only to Israel.
“Experience tells us that what starts in the Middle East, doesn’t stop there,” he pointed out, citing Iran’s “new deadly terror unit,” which he described as “swarms of killer UAVs armed with lethal weapons that can attack any place any time.”
“They plan to blanket the skies of the Middle East with this lethal force,” he added. “Iran plans to arm its proxies in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon with hundreds and then thousands of these deadly drones.
Bennett emphasized that Iran has already used the deadly drones, also known as Shahed 136, to attack Saudi Arabia, US targets in Iraq and civilian ships at sea, referring to the attack on the Israeli-linked Mercer Street vessel, which killed a British security contractor and Romanian crew member.
Commenting on Bennett’s speech, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said Monday: “Bennett addressed Iran’s nuclear ambitions and malevolent regional activities, matters of utmost importance to the international community. The annihilation of the Jewish State is a frequently and openly stated objective of the regime’s leaders, making the threat of a nuclear Iran particularly acute for Israel. We are hopeful that the Prime Minister’s warnings today do not fall on deaf ears.”
In the address, Bennett also pointed to “rays of light” alongside regional concerns, notably the normalization deals struck between Israel and several Arab states.
“For way too long, Israel was defined by wars with our neighbors,” the prime minister said.
“But this is not what Israel is about. This is not what the people of Israel are about. Israelis don’t wake up in the morning thinking about the conflict. Israelis want to lead a good life, take care of our families, and build a better world for our children,” he stated.