Bennett: ‘Reagan-like Cold War strategy for Iran’

“The parallel is what Reagan did,” Bennett said. “Reagan didn’t have to bomb Moscow.”

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett formally acknowledged the long-running shadow war between the Jewish State and Iran, stating that he is following an indirect warfare strategy inspired by former U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

During an interview with U.K. daily The Times, Bennett said he was focused on strengthening Israel’s economy, boosting its defense technology, and partnering with other countries to pressure Iran, rather than relying on a military-first strategy to curb the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

“We are waging a cold war against Iran and we will do everything necessary to neutralize the Iranian threat,” Bennett told the Times.

“Iran has positioned itself for the last 30 years around us with the aim of distracting us,” he said, citing Iranian-backed intelligence gathering sites and operational bases just over the northern border in Syria.

“It is no secret to anyone that Iran is currently witnessing the most advanced stage in terms of its uranium enrichment capacity.”

Bennett said that “outspending Iran” was a major tenet of his strategy, referencing Reagan’s “Star Wars” plan which saw the U.S. win the Cold War through economic and diplomatic dominance, rather than engaging in an all-out war.

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“The parallel is what Reagan did,” Bennett said. “Reagan didn’t have to bomb Moscow.”

“We will work against them, using all our energy, all our innovation, technology and economy to get to a point where we are a number of steps ahead,” he added.

Circling back to the COP26 climate conference, Bennett said the Islamic Republic needs to shift its priorities from human rights violations to protecting the environment.

“Iran is a rotten regime, violating human rights and killing homosexuals and uncovered women, while they can not even provide clean water to citizens and prefer to invest resources in nuclear development,” he said.

In an interview with Bahraini newspaper Al-Ayyam, the IDF’s Maj. Gen. Tal Kalman said Israel hasn’t lost all hope for a peaceful solution to ending the Iranian nuclear program.

“We still believe in the need for a diplomatic solution and we believe that with the correct moves, which must be rigid — some of which have not yet been tried and some of which are diplomatic efforts — it is possible to return Iran to the negotiating table,” Kalman told Al-Ayyam.

“Part of my job is building Israeli plans and capabilities for a conflict with Iran. We don’t want conflict, we don’t want war,” he added.

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“We want to resolve this issue diplomatically. But when you have in front of you a side that is aggressive, which is building military capabilities, we have to be preparing for other scenarios.”