Iran is technically capable of making a nuclear bomb, a senior aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei told Al Jazeera Arabic on Sunday, adding that the country would target “deep into” Israel if need be.
“Iran has the technical means to produce a nuclear bomb but there has been no decision by Iran to build it,” Kamal Kharrazi said, according to a translation by Reuters.
The U.S. and UN nuclear watchdog, meanwhile, have always maintained that Iran may not be equipped with the knowledge to actually manufacture a bomb.
“In a few days we were able to enrich uranium up to 60% and we can easily produce 90% enriched uranium,” Kharrazi, who is the head of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign relations, said.
Tehran would “directly respond” to Israel if “our sensitive facilities were targeted,” he added.
Israel “is in a phase of weakness, and President Joe Biden’s support for it will not bring it back to the fore,” Kharrazi said on Sunday.
Ongoing talks with the U.S. to revive the 2015 nuclear deal were facing challenges due to “mistrust” on both sides, Kharrazi said.
“Our missile program and our regional policies” are not up for negotiation, Kharazzi said, because doing so would mean the regime would effectively surrender itself.
Three days earlier, President Joe Biden reiterated his belief that negotiations are the best way forward.
“I continue to believe that diplomacy is the best way,” Biden said at a joint press briefing with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid in Jerusalem.
Lapid publicly disagreed with Biden’s assertion, saying: “Words will not stop them, Mr. President. Diplomacy will not stop them. The only thing that will stop Iran is knowing that if they continue to develop their nuclear program the free world will use force. The only way to stop them is to put a credible military threat on the table.”
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