by: Kate Norman
Tuesday, 11 January 2022 | Israel is not bound to any potential agreements that arise out of the ongoing Vienna talks, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told a Knesset (Parliament) committee yesterday.
Israel is “certainly concerned” about the nuclear talks, Bennett said in his first appearance before the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. “It is important for me to say here clearly and unequivocally: Israel is not a party to the agreements,” he added. “Israel is not bound to what will be written in the agreements if they are signed.”
“Israel will maintain unlimited and unrestricted freedom of action, everywhere and at all times,” Bennett asserted.
His statement came amid the eighth round of talks in Vienna to negotiate a return to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear deal between world powers and Iran to limit the Islamic regime’s nuclear development.
However, then-US President Donald Trump exited the deal in 2018 and reimposed crippling sanctions against Tehran. A year later, Iran began openly defying its restrictions under the JCPOA and has been straying further away from compliance since then.
The most recent round of talks resumed at the end of November, with little results, while the clock continues to tick and centrifuges continue to spin in Iran, enriching uranium to higher percentages of purity.
Iran has reportedly reached 60% enriched uranium thus far. It takes 90% purity to achieve a nuclear weapon—though the regime insists its nuclear program is strictly for civilian purposes.
Israel has vehemently opposed a return to the deal over the past few years. However, the Israeli military’s head of intelligence said last week that a return to the deal that would allow monitoring of Iran’s nuclear development is preferable to a complete breakdown of talks and an untethered Iranian nuclear drive.
The Jewish state has been ramping up its military in terms of budget, training and updating equipment to be prepared if Israel needs to intervene against Iran’s nuclear development alone.
“Iran tops our list of challenges,” Bennett told the committee. “Iran is the head of an octopus that constantly threatens Israel on all its borders via its proxies and its tentacles.”
“We are dealing day and night with Iran and its malign activity,” the prime minister added. “We are shifting to a concept of consistent offense and not just consistent defense.”
Thanks to a stabilizing economy, Israel is investing in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and security establishment in a “strengthening of a kind we have not seen in years,” Bennett said in yesterday’s address.
Bennett highlighted the strengthening and stabilization of Israel in passing a budget after years of political deadlock and rebounding the economy, which has taken a severe hit during the pandemic.
“The national security of Israel is good and getting stronger,” Bennett said.
Posted on January 11, 2022
Source: (Bridges for Peace, January 11, 2022)
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