Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s senior aide says that Iran has conducted several drills to strike deep into Israel in case their arch-enemy opts to ‘target our sensitive facilities’
Jul 17, 2022 5:00 PM
Iran has the technical capabilities to manufacture a nuclear bomb, Kamal Kharazi, a senior aide to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, told Al Jazeera on Sunday, but stressed that Tehran has yet to decide whether to develop such weapons.
Kharazi, who heads the leader’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, added that Iran has conducted several drills to strike deep into Israel in the event that their regional rival opted to “target our sensitive facilities.”
He noted that Iran could “easily” enrich uraniumto 90-percent required to produce the bomb, though the latest data from UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency has found that Tehran has only reached 60 percent enrichment.
The last week saw an escalation between the U.S. and Iran, as President Joe Biden visited Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia in a whirlwind tour, with Iran imposing sanctions against former U.S. officials and showcasing armed drones to their Russian allies.
During the cabinet meeting on Sunday, Israel’s Prime Minister Yair 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.