Israel PM Bennett weighs against nuclear talks with Iran's 'hangmen regime'
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, convening his first televised cabinet session since taking office last week, described Raisi's ascent as enabled by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rather than by a free and popular vote
Israel on Sunday condemned election of hardline cleric Ebrahim Raisi as Iran president. Israel's new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett mentioned Iran as "A regime of brutal hangmen". Ebrahim Raisi, who is under US sanctions for human rights abuses, secured victory in Iran presidential election on Saturday.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, convening his first televised cabinet session since taking office last week, described Raisi's ascent as enabled by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rather than by a free and popular vote.
"Raisi's election is, I would say, the last chance for world powers to wake up before returning to the nuclear agreement, and understand who they are doing business with," said Bennett in a statement he read out first in Hebrew and then in English.
"A regime of brutal hangmen must never be allowed to have weapons of mass-destruction," he said. "Israel's position will not change on this."
Raisi has been alleged by the US and rights groups of having a hand in extrajudicial killings of thousands of political prisoners in 1988.
Bennett, a nationalist atop of a cross-partisan coalition, has hewed to the opposition of his conservative predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, to the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, whose caps on projects with bomb-making potential Israel deemed too lax.
The former U.S. administration of Donald Trump agreed with Israel and quit the deal. Current President Joe Biden wants a U.S. return to the deal. Iran denies seeking nuclear weaponry.
(With inputs from agencies)