Iran Supreme Leader’s Aide Boasts Country Is 'Capable of Making a Nuclear Bomb'
'Iran has the technical means to produce a nuclear bomb'
A senior aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei boasted that the country would target “deep into” Israel with nuclear weapons.
“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 has 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 faced challenges due to “mistrust” on both sides, Kharrazi said.
“Our missile program and our regional policies” are not up for negotiation, Kharazzi said.
He added that doing so would mean the regime would effectively surrender itself.
Meanwhile, 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," he said.
"The only way to stop them is to put a credible military threat on the table.”
During the cabinet meeting on Sunday, Lapid said that he told Biden that the country would maintain freedom of action against Iran, though he said that he would support a "good" nuclear deal.
Although nuclear negotiations have hit a dead-end, the expectations that Biden's Middle East tour would yield a broad, anti-Iran coalition did not materialize, with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia distancing themselves from a defensive pact.
Kharazi welcomed Saudi Arabia's warm overtures to Iran, even as Biden visited the kingdom, and expressed a willingness for rapprochement with the other Gulf superpower.
However, he struck a defiant tone against the nuclear talks, stating that Tehran's "missile program and our regional policy" are not up for negotiations.