Iran has reacted to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s UN General Assembly speech, accusing him of attempting to spread “Iran-phobia” and launder Israel’s activities throughout the region.
Bennett’s speech was “full of lies,” Iran’s permanent representative to the UN, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, said in a tweet on Tuesday.
Bennett’s failure to address Palestine in his speech “illustrates a resolve to deprive Palestinian rights,” he stated, adding that “that dictatorship is in no position to discuss our benign [nuclear] program when it has hundreds of nuclear warheads.”
“Iran-phobia runs rampant at UN. The Israeli regime PM’s speech was full of lies on Iran. That regime is in no position to discuss our peaceful program when it has hundreds of nuclear warheads. And his silence on Palestine illustrates a determination to deprive Palestinian rights.”
In his speech on the final day of the UNGA on Monday, the Israeli prime minister had blasted Iran’s regional activities and support for movements opposed to Israel, claiming that Iran wants to dominate the region “under a nuclear umbrella”.
Bennett said that Iran’s nuclear program has reached a “watershed moment” in which “all red lines” have been crossed, with the country enriching uranium to 60% and the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) safeguard agreements being “violated.”
Meanwhile, he described Israel as a “lighthouse amid a stormy sea” that seeks democracy and freedom, as well as the creation of a better world.
Iran’s UN envoy termed Bennett’s assertions “baseless” and claimed he was attempting to portray Israel as a victim in a misleading manner.
It stated, “His wicked purpose is clear: to cover up all of the Israeli regime’s expansionist and destabilizing policies, as well as its criminal behavior in the region over the last seven decades.”
Israel is an occupying state, according to the statement, and has transformed Gaza into the world’s largest open-air jail, while Israeli authorities engage in “terrorist activity” across the area.
The Iranian envoy further chastised Israel for continuing to refuse to sign non-proliferation treaties while allegedly stockpiling conventional and nuclear weapons.
The new spat between the regional arch-foes comes as world governments that were parties to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal are attempting to revive the landmark agreement, which former US President Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned in 2018.
Six rounds of talks to resurrect the deal ended on July 20, and Iran has stated that it will return to Vienna “very soon” for talks. However, there are still many unknowns on the road to an agreement that would ease Iran’s crippling sanctions and curb on its nuclear program, which it claims is entirely peaceful.
Iran and the UN nuclear watchdog fought on Sunday over a disagreement over a joint statement reached earlier this month in Tehran.
Except for one centrifuge manufacturing site in Karaj, Iran has allowed access to all relevant sites for servicing monitoring equipment and replacing memory cards, according to the IAEA.
The site in question was never covered by the deal, according to Iran, because it was hit by a sabotage attack alleged on Israel in June, and security and judicial investigations are ongoing.
Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s top official in Vienna, told the IAEA Board of Governors on Monday that this isn’t a violation of safeguards, but rather a partial execution of Iran’s voluntary transparency measures.
“However, it’s critical to find a constructive solution in the interests of Iran and the JCPOA,” he tweeted, using the official acronym for the nuclear deal.
At today’s #IAEA BoG, I emphasized that the limitation of access to the Karaj site is not a breach of safeguards, but rather a partial implementation of #Iran’s voluntary transparency measures. However, in the interests of Iran and the #JCPOA, a positive solution must be found.