Iran Says It Has 'Technical Means to Produce an Atomic Bomb, No Intention of Doing So'

The announcement comes a day after a top Iranian nuclear negotiator said Tehran was seeking a swift conclusion to negotiations and one week after the regime threatened to keep the UN watchdog's cameras turned off until a 2015 nuclear deal was restored

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This handout satellite image provided on January 8, 2020 shows an overview of Iran's Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant, northeast of the Iranian city of Qom.
This handout satellite image provided on January 8, 2020 shows an overview of Iran's Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant, northeast of the Iranian city of Qom.Credit: Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies / AFP

Iran has the technical capability to produce an atomic bomb but has no intention of doing so, Mohammad Eslami, head of the country's atomic energy organization, said on Monday, according to the state-backed Fars news agency.

Eslami reiterated comments made by Kamal Kharrazi, a senior adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in July.

Kharrazi's remarks amounted to a rare suggestion that the Islamic Republic might have an interest in nuclear weapons, which it has long denied seeking.

Iran is already enriching uranium to up to 60% fissile purity, far above a cap of 3.67% set under Tehran's now tattered 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Uranium enriched to 90% is suitable for a nuclear bomb.

Iran has responded to top European Union diplomat Josep Borrell's proposal aimed at salvaging the nuclear accord, and seeks a swift conclusion to negotiations, the top Iranian nuclear negotiator said on Sunday.

On Tuesday, Borrell said he had proposed a new draft text to revive the deal.

Last week, Iran threatened to keep the International Atomic Energy Agency's cameras turned off until a 2015 nuclear deal is restored, after the UN nuclear watchdog said that the country's nuclear program is "galloping ahead". Nuclear chief Mohammad Eslami also said Iran would not agree to address alleged unexplained uranium traces as demanded by the IAEA, adding that the 2015 nuclear deal had cleared Iran of so-called PMD (possible military dimensions) allegations.

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