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Bennett speaks strongly against Iran but applies no pressure – analysis

CM 27/09/2021

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Prime Minister Naftali Bennett gave the toughest speech he could think of on Iran at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday – without actually putting any concrete threat or pressure on the table.
If former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu saw himself as a force that could manipulate US policy on Iran, Bennett has a more humble understanding of Jerusalem’s role.
He will seek to influence policy in Washington with firm facts and provide all the intelligence Israel can to convince the Biden administration to slap the Islamic Republic with a new round of pressure.

But he will not – at least at this stage – draw a new line in the sand or give an ultimatum with a deadline.
That is a significant difference.
As this article goes to press, Tehran continues to enrich uranium at the 60% level, only one level down from weaponization, and continues to openly thwart IAEA inspectors even from checking all of their own cameras.
This is not Iran reneging on the 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal, but on an agreement it just reached with the IAEA in mid-September.

 Israel is working in a coordinated way to counter Iran (credit: REUTERS) Israel is working in a coordinated way to counter Iran (credit: REUTERS)

Bennett spoke in dark tones and mentioned that Israel would not wait for others to act.
But there was not anything really new.
Netanyahu’s government and now Bennett’s government have repeated the same phrases now for months.
In some ways, the phrases and attempt to get media attention has gotten louder, but Bennett did not even get to the issue of Iran until midway through his speech.
Multiple top ministers have said they are ready to give the US negotiations a chance and Biden has made it clear he is in no rush to give Iran a deadline as long as the ayatollahs say that the idea of talks is possible.
Iran President Ebrahim Raisi made it very clear he is in no rush to return to the JCPOA in his UN speech.
This means the only speech that could have solved the logjam in which the Islamic Republic gradually gets closer to a nuclear bomb would have been a deadline from Biden or Bennett.
It could even have been a deadline two to three months out to return to negotiations with an open-ended approach, for now, to when negotiations would need to conclude.
While negotiations could suddenly start in the next week or two, Iran is also in the danger zone where they could act clandestinely to make some surprising announcements soon on the nuclear front.
At least for now, Bennett’s speech made it clear that he is not ready to press the US to change the dynamic, whether using sanctions or otherwise, within a limited time period.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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