Iran can make nuclear bombs but has not yet chosen whether to build one, a senior official bragged.
Kamal Kharrazi, a senior adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, gave the warning Sunday, a day after President Biden ended his Middle East trip in which he vowed to stop Iran from “acquiring a nuclear weapon.”
He told al Jazeera TV that “Iran is on the nuclear threshold and this not something secret,” according to the Tehran Times.
“Iran has the technical means to produce a nuclear bomb but there has been no decision by Iran to build one,” Kharrazi insisted.
Kharrazi said Iran has already been easily “able to enrich uranium up to 60%” — far above a cap of 3.67% under Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
“And we can easily produce 90% enriched uranium,” he said, referring to the percentage suitable for a nuclear bomb.
The comments by Kharrazi, a former foreign minister, were a rare suggestion that Iran might have an interest in nuclear weapons, which it has long denied seeking.
Tehran started violating the nuclear restrictions of a nuclear pact — which included curbing its uranium enrichment work — after then-President Trump dumped it in 2018.
Iran claims it is refining uranium only for civilian energy uses, and has said its breaches of the international deal are reversible if the United States lifts sanctions and rejoins the agreement.
Khamenei has banned the production of nuclear weapons, and Kharrazi reaffirmed that they contravene the nation’s “beliefs” — but said having the capability to build them is a “deterrent.”
He also referred to threats from Israel — which Iran does not recognize — to attack Iranian nuclear sites if diplomacy fails to contain Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
“Any targeting of our security from neighboring countries will be met with direct response to these countries and Israel,” he told al Jazeera.
He insisted that Tehran had carried out extensive drills to be able to strike deep inside Israel “if sensitive (Iranian) installations are targeted,” without elaborating on when the drills took place, Agence France-Presse noted.
With Post wires