Iran Accuses Regional Adversaries of ‘Spending on Suspicious Nuclear Projects’

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attends a press conference with German Vice Chancellor and Sigmar Gabriel (Unseen) at the Foreign Ministry in Berlin on June 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / John MACDOUGALL (Photo credit should read JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty

Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, on Wednesday accused other regional powers of funding “suspicious nuclear projects” and suggested Iran might be obliged to resume developing its own nuclear weapons in self-defense.

“Some countries in the region are spending their petro-dollars on suspicious nuclear projects that can endanger the security of the region and the world,” Shamkhani said.

“New threats like this will force us to revise our strategy based on the nature and geography of new threats, and predict the requirements of our country and armed forces,” he warned.

Shamkhani said that Iran is monitoring the “unusual activities” of unnamed Middle Eastern countries he accused of supporting terrorism.

Shamkhani accused hostile powers of sponsoring terrorism to destabilize his government, an effort thwarted by vigilant Iranian security forces.

“In the past two years, anti-Revolutionary groups, which are backed by certain regional and trans-regional countries, have made many attempts to destabilize Iran’s northwest borders, which were all foiled by the country’s vigilant and well-prepared armed forces and security bodies,” he charged.

“Any attempt by any groups or countries to destabilize Iran’s borders will face severely aggressive and preemptive measures. We will not allow destabilizers and their mercenaries undermine the stability of the region and security of the people,” he vowed.

Reuters noted Shamkhani did not name these other countries, but it does not require much reading between the lines to guess he was referring to Saudi Arabia. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denounced the United States for selling nuclear technology to the Saudis last month.

The American legislation Zarif attacked involved the peaceful use of civilian nuclear power by Saudi Arabia, which signed the same nuclear non-proliferation treaty Iran did.

“Iran insists its atomic work is entirely peaceful, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has issued a religious decree against the development of nuclear weapons,” Reuters added, referring to the dubious fatwa that Khamenei supposedly issued against developing nuclear weapons.

Media organizations have frequently cited this decree since former president Barack Obama touted it, but there is no hard evidence such a fatwa was ever issued, Iran tells conflicting stories about when it was supposedly written, and the first line of the nominal text promoted by Iranian media is an absurdly obvious lie that Iran never pursued nuclear weapons in the first place.

In any event, the Supreme National Security Council chief’s remarks are the latest evidence that Iran would ignore that legendary fatwa, or simply write a new one, if it decided nuclear development by other states obliged it to respond by building its own weapons – and Iran misses no opportunity to declare that it sees itself surrounded by hostile nuclear weapons in the near future.

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