JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Tuesday he expects the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s Board of Governors, which is now meeting, to issue a clear warning to Iran over its nuclear programme.
“We expect the Board of Governors will issue a clear warning sign before the regime in Tehran and make clear that if they continue their defiant nuclear policy, they will pay a heavy price,” Bennett said in televised remarks at a parliamentary committee meeting.
Bennett last week met the International Atomic Energy Agency chief ahead of the board’s meeting and told him Israel would prefer a diplomatic resolution to the standoff with Iran but it could take independent action, reiterating a long-standing veiled threat to launch a preemptive war.
The United States, France, Britain and Germany are pushing for the IAEA Board of Governors to rebuke Iran for failing to answer longstanding questions on uranium traces at undeclared sites.
A rebuke would likely anger Iran and could damage prospects for rescuing the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Indirect talks on that between Iran and the United States are already stalled.
Israel regards the prospect of Iran developing nuclear weapons as a threat to its existence. Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful.
(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Catherine Evans, Robert Birsel)