The World BrieflyJuly 19, 2022
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Iran is capable of building a nuclear weapon but will not do so, according to an Iranian official, whose comments came after US President Joe Biden visited the Middle East in an effort to boost ties in the region and address Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, CBS News reported Monday.
Kamal Kharrazi, who heads an advisory board linked to Iran’s leadership, said the country has the “technical capability to build a nuclear bomb,” but added it has “not made a decision” to do so.
The senior official added that Iran had conducted extensive drills to be able to strike deep inside Israel “if sensitive (Iranian) installations are targeted.” He did not specify when these drills took place.
His statements follow Biden’s visit to the Middle East last week, where he signed a security pact with Israel pledging to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Under the “Jerusalem Declaration,” the US “is prepared to use all elements of its national power to ensure that outcome.”
Tehran accused the US of stoking tensions in the region after Biden said Washington would not “tolerate efforts by any country to dominate another in the region through military buildups, incursions, and/or threats,” in a reference to Iran.
Meanwhile, the US and other world powers have for months been trying to revive the 2015 nuclear deal that put a limit on Tehran’s nuclear prospects in exchange for sanctions relief.
But the Trump administration withdrew from the agreement in 2018 and reimposed sanctions, prompting Iran to violate some of its commitments under the deal.
Last year, Iran said it was enriching uranium to 60 percent at one of its facilities, going beyond the agreed 3.67 percent under the 2015 deal. However, it is short of the 90 percent required for military-grade uranium.
Kharrazi said the country could easily produce 90 percent enriched uranium but emphasized that Iran wants “a Middle East without any nuclear weapons.”
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