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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Iran is totally capable building nuclear bomb but we haven’t decided to do so, says adviser Ayatollah Khamenei

Iran is technically capable of making a nuclear bomb but has not decided whether to make one, a senior adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Qatar’s Al Jazeera television on Sunday.

Kamal Kharrazi spoke a day after US President Joe Biden ended his four-day trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia, pledging to prevent Iran from “getting a nuclear weapon”.

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

“Within a few days, we were able to enrich uranium up to 60% and we can easily produce 90% enriched uranium… Iran has the technical means to make a nuclear bomb, but Iran has not chosen to make one,” Kharrazi said,


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

In 2018, former US President Donald Trump left the nuclear pact under which Iran curbed its uranium enrichment work, a potential path to nuclear weapons, in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.

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

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


Iran says it refines uranium only for civilian energy use and has said its violations of the international agreement are reversible if the United States lifts sanctions and rejoins the accord.

The broad outline of the renewed deal was essentially agreed in March after 11 months of indirect talks between Tehran and the Biden administration in Vienna.

But the talks then foundered on obstacles, including Tehran’s demand that Washington provide assurances that no US president would leave 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 has not provided guarantees to preserve the nuclear deal, and that defeats the possibility of any deal,” Kharrazi said.

Kharazi said Iran would never negotiate on its ballistic missile program and regional policy as demanded by the West and its allies in the Middle East.

“Any targeting of our security from neighboring countries will be met with a direct response from those countries and Israel.”


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