Bennett Warns Israel Won't Be Bound by Any Iran Nuclear Deal, Will 'Reserve Freedom of Action'

© REUTERS / RONEN ZVULUNIsraeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks at the weekly cabinet meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem August 8, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/Pool
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett speaks at the weekly cabinet meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem August 8, 2021. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/Pool - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.01.2022
Tehran, other signatories of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Iran nuclear deal, and the United States have been negotiating on bringing the agreement back online. Israel has repeatedly threatened to carry out strikes against the Islamic Republic targeting its nuclear programme, either unilaterally or in coordination with Washington.
Israel is not part of the talks in Vienna on the JCPOA, and will not be bound by their terms, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has said.

"In regard to the nuclear talks in Vienna, we are definitely concerned...Israel is not a side to the agreements. Israel is not bound by what will be written in the agreements, if they are signed, and Israel will continue to maintain full freedom of action anywhere, any time, with no constraints," Bennett said, speaking at a briefing of the Knesset's foreign affairs and defence committee on Monday.

Characterising Iran as "the head of an octopus that constantly threatens via its proxies," Bennett warned that Israel has "shifted from defence to offence consistently" to deal with threats.
The prime minister also commented on the security situation in Israel, saying it was 'good' and 'getting better.'
Current and former Israeli officials are divided regarding the JCPOA and its implications for Tel Aviv's national security. While Bennett and his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, have repeatedly condemned the landmark agreement (and in Netanyahu's case, helped to torpedo it in 2018), others, including Israel Defence Forces Operations Directorate Chief Aharon Haliva and former deputy national security adviser Chuck Freilich, have characterised it as "the best of the bad options" for Tel Aviv. The alternatives, Freilich warned in a recent interview with Haaretz, include massed missile strikes against Tel Aviv by Iran and Hezbollah in retaliation to any Israeli aggression.
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In late December, Iran showed off its precision missile and drone capabilities, targeting a mockup facility in the desert built to resemble Israel's highly secretive Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center - the suspected birthplace of the Israeli nuclear bomb.
Israel neither confirms nor denies possessing nuclear weapons, but is suspected to have between 80 and 400 warheads in its arsenal. At the same time, Tel Aviv has repeatedly threatened to attack any Middle Eastern nation it believes may be developing nukes, doing so repeatedly over decades, targeting Iraq, Syria and Pakistan. Israeli intelligence has also been accused of assassinating multiple Iranian nuclear scientists, and engaging in sabotage against Tehran's nuclear programme.
Iran has vocally denied any intention of pursuing nukes, with the country's officials pointing to the country's ballistic and cruise missile deterrent and their drone capabilities, and characterising nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction generally as incompatible with Islam. The Islamic Republic has repeatedly criticised the international community for its alleged double standards on the nuclear issue, pointing out that while it is a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, it remains subjected to stringent United Nations nuclear inspections, and faces harsh Western sanctions. Tel Aviv, Tehran points out, faces no such restrictions, despite actually having a major nuclear arsenal.
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