In a stunning admission, former Iranian lawmaker Ali Motahari acknowledged the Islamic Republic of Iran intended to develop nuclear weapons from the very start of its nuclear program, while voicing regret the goal was not kept secret enough.
The former deputy parliament speaker stated in an interview on Iran’s Student Correspondents Association (ISCA) state-run news on Sunday, “When we [Iran] began our nuclear activity, our goal was indeed to build a bomb.”
“There is no need to beat around the bush,” he added.
When asked if he was actually stating the aim was to build a bomb, Motahari responded, “Yes. One hundred percent.”
He explained that the aim was that of “the entire regime, or at least, the people who started this activity,” and was to serve “as a means of intimidation.”
The former politician expressed regret that the goal of obtaining nuclear weapons was not a better kept secret.
“With regard to what we started… If we could have kept it [a secret] until we performed a [nuclear] test, then it would have been a done deal,” he said. “Like in Pakistan.”
The regime’s nuclear program “should have proceeded to the threshold,” Motahari said.
In response, a stunned interviewer told Motahari such admissions are not normally voiced publicly, while suggesting his claims could have an impact on the current nuclear deal negotiations.
“We haven’t heard anyone officially saying the things you say,” the interviewer said. “Don’t these things affect the [JCPOA] talks and such things?”
The former member of Iran’s parliament appeared unmoved by his answer.
“Nobody notices what I am saying,” he said.
However, the interviewer warned that “foreigners” would find his comments with relatively little effort.
“I have no official capacity,” Motahari replied. “I’m saying these things on behalf of myself.”
The two then discussed Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s alleged prohibition of building a nuclear bomb, though Motahari noted a “justification” based on the Quran.
“Some people rely on the Quranic verse ‘Strike fear in the hearts of Allah’s enemy.’ This means that we should intimidate [the enemy] but not use the bomb,” he said. “In this respect, they say that we can build a bomb.”
Iran, the largest state sponsor of terrorism worldwide, claims its nuclear program is for energy purposes, but world leaders, including the six nations that joined the 2015 deal to limit Iran’s nuclear weapons capacity, say enriching uranium may lead to Iran’s ability to quickly create a nuclear weapon.
The Obama-led nuclear deal — deemed fatally flawed and highly one-sided by many, and from which then-President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018 — delineates an enrichment limit of 3.67 percent.
Iran has been accused of violating the agreement as Tehran produces more enriched uranium.
Nevertheless, current nuclear talks in Vienna may see the United States and other world powers provide Iran with economic sanctions relief in exchange for temporary restrictions on its nuclear program.
According to a former State Department official, President Biden’s impending agreement to restore the Iran nuclear deal offers the regime access to $90 billion in foreign currency reserves and sanctions relief to some of the world’s worst terrorists.
In addition to being granted hundreds of billions of dollars it will likely use for terror and aggression, the deal also won’t prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
Last month, Russia’s envoy to the Iran nuclear talks admitted Tehran “got much more than it could expect” in the latest iteration of the nuclear deal.
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.
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