A senior political figure in Tehran has spoken of Iran’s ability to produce nuclear weapons, hours after a top adviser insisted the country has the capability.
Mohammad Javad Larijani, a former high-ranking official and one of the Larijani brothers who have long been influential regime insiders, told a TV program in Tehran on Sunday that if Iran wants to build a nuclear bomb “no one can stop it.”
Referring to what Iran says is a Fatwa by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei against producing weapons of mass destruction, Larijani said, “We do not have permission to pursue weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, but if at some point we decide to do it naturally no one can prevent us.” Without naming the United States or Israel, he added, “They also know this.”
Hours before Larijani’s remarks on television, Kamal Kharrazi, Khamenei’s top foreign policy adviser told Al Jazeera Arabic, ““It is no secret that we have the technical capabilities to manufacture a nuclear bomb, but we have no decision to do so.”
The subtle threats from two senior Iranian figures come in the wake of President Joe Biden’s trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia last week, during which the president sounded a bit more forceful regarding Iran and its nuclear threat. Long before the trip, there were media reports of the United States forging some sort of a military network between Israel and Sunni Arab states opposed to Tehran’s rulers.
The trip, according to most assessments, had relatively modest results that can be summed up in reassuring Israel about US commitment to its defense and a start to re-building confidence with Saudi Arabia after a rough start by Biden. The US also signed a joint declaration with Israel, which said Washington is committed to preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear weapons state.
Larijani in his remarks also tried to appear optimistic about the stalled nuclear negotiations with the US. “I believe that the slowing down in the JCPOA process will be quickly fixed,” but he quickly added that Iran’s ability to make a nuclear bomb “is not something that can be eradicated with bombings.” Larijani was most likely referring to repeated Israeli threats to use a military strike if it feels Tehran is on the verge of building a bomb.
Larijani also took a jab at Biden, saying, “They swore not to let Iran obtain nuclear weapons, but American policies, are ancient like Biden. They are powerless in front of us.”
The chief of Israel's armed forces Lieutenant-General Aviv Kochavi said Sunday that preparing a military option against Iran is amoral duty and an urgent national security matter.
In fact, Iran’s ruler Khamenei is four years older than the US president.
Iran currently has sufficient uranium enriched to 60-percent purity to produce weapons-grade fissile material at 90-percent enrichment. The remaining stage would be the knowhow to make a nuclear bomb, and what Kharrazi and Larijani have hinted at is that Iran has that capability.