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Naftali Bennett warns new Iran nuclear deal will create 'more violent' Middle East

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Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday warned that the version of the Iran nuclear deal currently being negotiated would lead to "a more violent and less stable Middle East." Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/3fd31701a2887584f1b55c0ac4900e22/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday warned that the version of the Iran nuclear deal currently being negotiated would lead to "a more violent and less stable Middle East." Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday warned that the version of the Iran nuclear deal currently being negotiated will not curb violence in the Middle East.

Speaking at the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, Bennett asserted that "Israel will not accept Iran as a nuclear threshold state" and added that he feared the deal is "likely to create a more violent and less stable Middle East."

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"We are looking to Vienna, and we are deeply troubled by what we see," he said, referring to the ongoing talks in the Austrian capital.

Earlier in the day, Bennett told cabinet members that the proposed new deal was "shorter and weaker" than the 2015 deal.

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"We may see an agreement in a short while," he said. "We're preparing for the day on all levels, so that we can keep Israeli citizens safe on our own."

The most significant issue with the deal as currently constructed, Bennett said, was the so-called sunset clause.

"In two-and-a-half years, which is right around the corner," he said. "Iran will be able to develop, install and operate advanced centrifuges."

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Bennett said that since the 2015 deal "the Iranians have significantly increased their enrichment capabilities" and noted that they have "crossed one red line after another, including enriching at an unprecedented rate of 60%."

Bennett also said the deal would inject billions of dollars into the "Iranian terror machine" which he said would leave the country on "a fast track to military-grade enrichment" and would not require them to destroy recently built centrifuges."

Earlier this month, Iran unveiled new missiles that use solid fuels and have ranges of 900 miles, putting Israel and U.S. bases in the region within reach.

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Bennett declared that in the face of the potential threat Israel has a "clear and unnegotiable red line: it will always maintain its freedom of action to defend itself," specifically highlighting a rift with the United States over the provisions in the speech to the American organization.

"While there is no doubt that America is our biggest and strongest friend, ultimately it's us who live in the region, and it's us who'll bear the consequences," Bennett said.

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