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Netanyahu raps IAEA chief, claims Israel free to attack Iran’s nuclear sites ‘in self defense’

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Grossi attends a press conference in Tehran on March 4, 2023. (Photo by Tasnim)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denounced as “unworthy” the recent comments by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi, who said any military attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would be illegal.

The chief of the UN nuclear watchdog said on Saturday that any military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would be “illegal” and “outlawed,” as he was responding to US and Israeli threats to target them.

“I think any attack, any military attack on a nuclear facility is outlaw [sic], is out of the normative structures that we all abide by,” Grossi said at a joint news conference with the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Mohammad Eslami, in Tehran.

The remarks came amid reports that the Biden administration has drawn closer to Israel in recent weeks, conducting large-scale joint military exercises with the regime as talks on the Islamic Republic’s peaceful nuclear program have hit a deadlock.

“Rafael Grossi is a worthy person who made an unworthy remark,” Netanyahu said in a meeting with his extremist cabinet on Sunday.

“Outside what law? Is it permissible for Iran, which openly calls for our destruction, to organize the tools of slaughter for our destruction? Are we forbidden from defending ourselves? We are obviously permitted to do this,” he added.

Last month, US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides said “all options are on the table” against Iran and that “Israel can and should do whatever they need to deal with, and we’ve got their back.”

Israel, which possesses nuclear weapons and has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), has made various covert attempts in recent years to sabotage Iran’s peaceful nuclear program by assassinating Iranian scientists and carrying out cowardly attacks on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Israel has also overtly threatened on numerous occasions to carry out attacks against Iranian facilities and infrastructure and claimed that Iran was close to building nuclear weapons.

This is while Iran showed to the world the peaceful nature of its nuclear program by signing the JCPOA in 2015 with six world powers — the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China. Iran fully observed its nuclear obligations under the JCPOA until 2019, a year after the US, under Israel’s influence, withdrew from the accord and targeted Iran with a “maximum pressure” campaign.

Iran is also a signatory to the NPT and has banned the production, possession, and use of nuclear weapons per a fatwa (religious decree) by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.

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