Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Iran has never given up efforts to obtain nuclear weapons and that Israel will not allow Tehran to build them.
The leader, addressing reporters with visiting US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at his side, made no comment about Iran’s accusation that Israel had sabotaged its key Natanz nuclear site.
“Iran has never given up its quest for nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them,” Netanyahu said. “I will never allow Iran to obtain the nuclear capability to carry out its genocidal goal of eliminating Israel.”
Iran says its nuclear programme is purely for peaceful purposes. It accused Israel of sabotaging its key nuclear site and vowed revenge for an attack that appeared to be latest episode in a long-running covert war.
On Monday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif explicitly blamed Israel. “The Zionists want to take revenge because of our progress in the way to lift sanctions… We will not fall into their trap…We will not allow this act of sabotage to affect the nuclear talks,” Zarif was quoted by state TV as saying.
“But we will take our revenge against the Zionists.”
The incident occurred amid diplomatic efforts by Iran and the United States to revive Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with major powers, an accord Israel fiercely opposed, after former US President Donald Trump abandoned it three years ago.
Last week, Iran and the global powers held what they described as “constructive” talks to salvage the deal, which has unravelled as Iran has breached its limits on sensitive uranium enrichment since Trump reimposed harsh sanctions on Tehran.