Khamenei adviser says Tehran ‘capable of building a nuclear bomb’, Al Jazeera reports

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Iran technically capable of making a nuclear bomb but has not yet decided whether to build it, a senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Qatari television channel Al Jazeera on Sunday.

Kamal Kharrazi spoke the day after US President Joe Biden ended his four-day trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia, promising to prevent Iran from “acquiring nuclear weapons.”

Kharrazi’s comments were a rare suggestion that Iran might be interested in nuclear weapons, which he has long denied.

“In a few days, we were able to enrich uranium up to 60%, and we can easily produce uranium enriched up to 90%… Iran has the technical means to produce a nuclear bomb, but Iran has not made a decision to build it,” Kharrazi said.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a televised New Year's Eve speech in Tehran, Iran, on Monday, March 21, 2022, in this photo posted on the official website of the Office of the Supreme Leader of Iran.  Iran is technically capable of building a nuclear bomb but has not decided whether to build one, a senior adviser to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Qatari TV channel Al Jazeera on Sunday.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a televised New Year’s Eve speech in Tehran, Iran, on Monday, March 21, 2022, in this photo posted on the official website of the Office of the Supreme Leader of Iran. Iran is technically capable of building a nuclear bomb but has not decided whether to build one, a senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Qatari TV channel Al Jazeera on Sunday.
(Office of the Supreme Leader of Iran via AP)

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Iran is already enriching up to 60%, well above the 3.67% limit under Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Uranium enriched up to 90% is suitable for nuclear bomb.

In 2018, former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear pact, under which Iran would limit its uranium enrichment, a potential path to nuclear weapons, in exchange for lifting economic sanctions.

In response to Washington’s withdrawal and the resumption of tough sanctions, Tehran began violating the pact’s nuclear restrictions.

Last year, Iran’s intelligence minister said that Western pressure could push Tehran to look for nuclear weapons, the development of which Khamenei banned by a fatwa, or religious decree, in the early 2000s.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey on Wednesday, July 7, 2021.  In 2018, former US President Donald Trump abandoned the nuclear pact, under which Iran limited its work on uranium enrichment, a potential route to nuclear weapons.  in exchange for exemption from economic sanctions.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey on Wednesday, July 7, 2021. In 2018, former US President Donald Trump abandoned the nuclear pact, under which Iran limited its work on uranium enrichment, a potential route to nuclear weapons. in exchange for exemption from economic sanctions.
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Iran says it only processes uranium for civilian use and has said its violations of an international agreement are reversible if US lifts sanctions and joins deal.

The overall plan for a revived deal was essentially agreed in March after 11 months of indirect negotiations between Tehran and the Biden administration in Vienna.

But then talks broke down due to obstacles, including Tehran’s demand for Washington to guarantee that no U.S. president would back out of the deal, as Trump did.

Biden can’t promise that because the nuclear deal is a non-binding political agreement, not a legally binding treaty.

The United States did not provide guarantees on the preservation of the nuclear deal, and this destroys the possibility of any agreement,” Kharrazi said.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 16: President Joe Biden answers questions from reporters on the South Lawn of the White House on July 16, 2022 in Washington, DC.  Negotiations then broke down due to obstacles, including Tehran's demand that Washington give assurances that no U.S. president would back out of the deal, as Trump did.  contract.

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 16: President Joe Biden answers questions from reporters on the South Lawn of the White House on July 16, 2022 in Washington, DC. Negotiations then broke down due to obstacles, including Tehran’s demand that Washington give assurances that no U.S. president would back out of the deal, as Trump did. contract.
(Photo by Thassos Katopodis/Getty Images)

WHITE HOUSE ACCUSES IRAN OF GIVING ‘SEVERAL HUNDREDS’ DRONES TO RUSSIA

Israel, which Iran does not recognize, has threatened to attack Iranian nuclear facilities if diplomacy fails to contain Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

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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 attacks on our security from neighboring countries will be met with a direct response to these countries and Israel.”