Israel looks to strike Iran’s nuclear sites in warning to Tehran’s ‘mass murderers’

Tehran: Fire burns at oil refinery in Iranian capital

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Ebrahim Raisi, 60, was elected as Iran’s next President to the anger of Israel’s newest Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. Israel has opposed Iran’s development of nuclear capabilities for years.

Mr Bennett used his first cabinet meeting in Jerusalem to brand Iran’s new President a “mass murderer”.

Israel’s Prime Minister said Mr Raisi’s election was “the last chance for the world powers to wake up before returning to the nuclear agreement and to understand who they’re doing business with”.

He added: “These guys are murderers, mass murderers.

“A regime of brutal hangmen must never be allowed to have weapons of mass destruction that will enable it to not kill thousands, but millions.”

Lior Haiat, Israel’s foreign ministry spokesman, described Mr Raisi as “an extremist responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iranians”.

An Israel Government source also told the Channel 12 broadcaster: “There will be no choice [now] but to go back and prepare attack plans for Iran’s nuclear programme.

“This will require budgets and the reallocation of resources.”

Mr Raisi, now-President-elect and Chief Justice of Iran, won the election with a massive 17.8 million votes.

It follows Yossi Cohen, departing Israeli intelligence chief, claiming the Mossad spy agency was behind a string of recent sabotage attacks targeting Iran’s nuclear sites and personnel.

On April 11, Iran reported critical damage to its Natanz nuclear facility’s centrifuges.

The attack at Natanz was initially described only as a blackout in its electrical grid, but later Iranian officials began calling it an attack.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Tehran’s then-foreign minister, blamed Israel at the time: “The Zionists want to take revenge because of our progress in the way to lift sanctions.

“They have publicly said that they will not allow this. But we will take our revenge from the Zionists.”

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On Sunday, the UK and other world powers briefly resumed talks in Vienna on restoring the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which saw Iran limit its nuclear enrichment programme in exchange for sanction relief.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Bushehr plant shut down on Saturday, with Gholamali Rakhshanimehr, an official from the state electric energy company, warning it will last “three to four days”.

It is the first time Iran has reported an emergency shutdown of the plant, located in the southern port city of Bushehr.

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