JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett criticized Iran’s new president in his first cabinet meeting on Sunday since the new coalition government was sworn in last week. He said Iran’s presidential election is a signal for world powers to “wake up” before returning to the nuclear deal with Tehran.

In Iran’s presidential election, judiciary chief hardliner Ibrahim Raisi has secured 62 percent of the vote. The US has imposed sanctions on Raisi for his involvement in the execution of thousands of political prisoners at the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988. However, Raisi has not commented specifically on the matter.

Bennett told a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, “Of those who (Iran’s supreme leader) Khamenei could choose, he chose the executioner of Tehran to head the committees that put to death hundreds of innocent civilians in Iran.” It is infamous among Iranians and countries around the world.

Significantly, Iran and the world’s powerful countries had a nuclear deal in 2015. Under this, Iran was given a waiver of sanctions in exchange for cutting the nuclear program, but in 2018, the then US President Donald Trump pulled America out of it, after which the deal fell into disrepair. Indirect talks between Iran and powerful countries are to resume in Vienna from Sunday with the intention of reviving the deal.

Bennett said Reisi’s election as Iran’s presidency was the last opportunity for world powers to wake up before returning to the nuclear deal. He said, ‘These people are murderers, mass murderers. The barbaric executioner’s regime must stop acquiring weapons of mass destruction, which will allow it to kill millions, not thousands.’

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