Iran dismissed Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s speech Monday to the UN General Assembly as “full of lies,” after the Israeli premier hit out at the Islamic Republic.
In his first address to the UN, Bennett accused Iran of seeking to “dominate the region” through its support of proxy terrorist groups, noted alleged Iranian attacks on shipping, slammed the country’s new president over his human rights record and charged Tehran was “getting away” with violating the 2015 accord limiting its nuclear program.
“Iran-phobia runs rampant at UN. The Israeli regime PM’s speech was full of lies on Iran,” Majid Takht Ravanchi, the Iranian ambassador to the UN, wrote on Twitter. “That regime is in no position to discuss our peaceful program when it has hundreds of nuclear warheads.”
He also criticized Bennett for not mentioning the Palestinians.
“His silence on Palestine illustrates a determination to deprive Palestinian rights,” Ravanchi said.
Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry Riyad al-Maliki also fumed at Bennett for the omission.
“Deliberately omitting a reference to Palestine reflects his fear of it, and once again proves to the international community that he is not and will not be a partner for Palestinians in the peace and negotiation process,” he told Reuters.
After his speech, Bennett met with UN-Secretary General Antonio Guterres, with the latter’s office saying the two “exchanged views on regional developments, including the Middle East Peace Process.”
Bennett has thrown cold water on the prospect of any major peace initiative by the new government, while also stressing it will not pursue his long-stated goal of annexing chunks of the West Bank.
In an interview earlier this month, Bennett reiterated his opposition to a Palestinian state and said he sees no reason to meet with PA leader Mahmoud Abbas, despite a number of high-level contacts between Israel’s new government and the Palestinian Authority.