Reuters and Algemeiner Staff
A number of new generation Iranian centrifuges are seen on display during Iran’s National Nuclear Energy Day in Tehran, Iran April 10, 2021. Iranian Presidency Office/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout
Iran is technically capable of making a nuclear bomb but has not decided whether to build one, a senior adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Qatar’s Al Jazeera TV on Sunday.
Kamal Kharrazi spoke a day after US President Joe Biden ended his four-day trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia, vowing to stop Iran from “acquiring a nuclear weapon.”
Kharrazi’s comments were a rare suggestion that Iran might have an interest in nuclear weapons, which it has long denied seeking.
“In a few days we were able to enrich uranium up to 60% and we can easily produce 90% enriched uranium … Iran has the technical means to produce a nuclear bomb but there has been no decision by Iran to build one,” Kharrazi said.
Iran is already enriching to up to 60%, far above a cap of 3.67% under Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Uranium enriched to 90% is suitable for a nuclear bomb.
In 2018, former US President Donald Trump withdrew from Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, under which Iran curbed its uranium enrichment work, a potential pathway to nuclear weapons, in exchange for relief from economic sanctions. Tehran has since violated multiple limits imposed by the accord.
Israel, which Iran does not recognize, has threatened to attack Iranian nuclear sites if diplomacy fails to contain Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
Kharrazi said Iran would never negotiate its ballistic missile program and regional policy, as demanded by the West and its allies in the Middle East.
“Any targeting of our security from neighboring countries will be met with direct response to these countries and Israel.”