Following the election of Iranian hardliner Ebrahim Raisi as the next Iranian president, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned Sunday against Iran’s “regime of executioners” obtaining a nuclear bomb, adding Raisi’s election should be a “wake up call” for western powers hoping to resuscitate the tattered nuclear deal.
His comments came as Iran’s nuclear envoy, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, said at the end of the sixth round of nuclear negotiations in Vienna his country was “closer than ever” to a deal but that the U.S. needed to make some decisions.
Raisi, a judge under U.S. sanctions for human rights abuses, won the four-candidate election with a record low turnout of only 48.8 percent.
Foreign Minister and alternate prime minister Yair Lapid dubbed Raisi as the “Butcher of Tehran” who is “an extremist responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iranians.”
Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat said that Raisi will be the “most extremist president to date.”
He tweeted: “An extremist figure, committed to Iran’s rapidly advancing military nuclear program, his election makes clear Iran’s true malign intentions, and should prompt grave concern among the international community.”
Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi led a delegation of Israel’s top military brass to Washington early Sunday to meet with American officials about Iran’s nuclear program.
“The chief of staff will discuss with his counterparts current shared security challenges, including matters dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat, Iran’s efforts to entrench itself militarily in the Middle East, Hezbollah’s rearmament efforts, the consequences of the threat of precision-guided missiles and joint force build-up,” the IDF said in a statement.