Israeli PM, IAEA DG hold talks

International Atomic Energy (IAEA) Director General Dr. Rafael Grossi arrived in Israel for a snap visit with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

By Jonathan Hessen and Erin Viner

According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office obtained by TV7, Bennett “made it clear” to Grossi that while Israel prefers diplomacy in order to deny Iran the possibility of developing nuclear weapons, it reserves the right to self-defense and to action against Iran in order to block its nuclear program should the international community not succeed in the relevant time frame.”

Reiterating a long-standing veiled threat to launch pre-emptive war to halt Iran’s accelerating atomic development program, Prime Minister Bennett “expressed Israel’s deep concern regarding Iran’s continued progress toward achieving nuclear weapons while deceiving the international community by using false information and lies,” added the statement.

Prime Minister Bennett went on to emphasize that it is “urgent” to mobilize the international community “to take action against Iran, using all means” to stop it from acquiring the devastating weapons.

Last week Bennett warned that, “the exposure of Iran’s systematic program to deceive the IAEA – which was based around documents that Iran stole from the IAEA – is a wake-up call to the world. This is additional proof of Iranian efforts to advance toward achieving nuclear weapons,” stressed the Israeli leader.

TV7 reported on 27 May that Bennett appeared to be responding to an exclusive by the Wall Street Journal entitled: Iran Used Secret U.N. Records to Evade Nuclear Probes.

“Internal IAEA documents, obtained by Iranian intelligence, were sent to top officials amid an investigation into a suspected past nuclear-weapons program,” read the subheading of the article.

“Iran secured access to secret United Nations atomic agency reports almost two decades ago and circulated the documents among top officials who prepared cover stories and falsified a record to conceal suspected past work on nuclear weapons, according to Middle East intelligence officials and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal,” said the report, adding that, “The International Atomic Energy Agency documents and accompanying Persian-language Iranian records reveal some of the tactics Tehran used with the agency, which is tasked with monitoring compliance with nuclear non-proliferation treaties and the later 2015 nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).

“While Iran says it isn’t trying to build nuclear weapons, a look at its key facilities suggests it could develop the technology to make them,” reported the WSJ, which went on to break down “Tehran’s capabilities as it hits new milestones in uranium enrichment and limits access to inspectors.”

Israel has long opposed the JCPOA as too weak to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. After former United States Republican President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018, the Ayatollah regime responded by openly violating critical nuclear limits. The current administration of Democratic President Joe Biden has been undertaking efforts to bring both sides back into compliance with the deal.

The Ayatollah regime has repeatedly vowed to annihilate the Jewish State. Israel has consistently warned that its arch-enemy will try to secure a windfall in sanctions relief at the talks, without sufficiently rolling back nuclear bomb-making potential through its accelerated enrichment of uranium.

While stressing Israel’s support for the IAEA to carry out its monitoring mandate vis-à-vis Iran in “a professional and independent way,” Prime Minister Bennett underscored the critical need for the IAEA Board of Governors to deliver a clear and unequivocal message to Iran during its upcoming session.

Israel’s warning to the visiting the United Nations nuclear watchdog organization chief comes in the wake of calls by Western powers on the IAEA Governors to rebuke Tehran for failing to answer questions on uranium traces at undeclared sites.

That ongoing dispute has further obstructed so-far fruitless attempts by world negotiators to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal that former United States President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018. Since the Washington’s withdrawal, Tehran has stepped up uranium enrichment – a process that could produce fuel for bombs – in blatant violation of curbs imposed by the deal.

There was no immediate comment from Grossi’s office.

The Islamic Republic’s Chief Nuclear Negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani boasted yesterday that Israel “can only attack Iran in its dreams.”

“And if they do have such a dream, they will never wake up from it,” he was cited by Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency as the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) during an official visit to the Scandinavian country.

Israel’s advanced military, widely assumed to have nuclear weapons, this week signaled strategic reach by going public with the Chariots of Fire air force simulated strike on Iran exercise, including the rare deployment of a naval submarine to the Red Sea.