Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Mohammad Eslami has warned the Israeli regime against threatening to attack Iranian nuclear sites, saying Tel Aviv must first take into consideration its poor capability before threatening Tehran.
Speaking to Yemen's al-Masirah television network on Saturday, Eslami said the Israeli regime should look in the mirror and check its capabilities before making threats to strike Iranian nuclear sites.
Earlier, The Times of Israel, citing a report published by Channel 12, reported that Israeli officials had approved a budget of five billion shekels ($1.5 billion) to purchase high-powered weapons and equipment in preparation for a possible attack against Iranian nuclear facilities.
The claims drew a stern warning from Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani who said Israel must consider the colossal cost of repair after Tehran’s “shocking” response in case of such a move.
“Instead of allocating 1.5 billion dollars budget for atrocities against #Iran, the Zionist regime should focus on providing tens of thousands of billion dollars funding to repair the damage that is going to be caused by Iran's shocking response,” Shamkhani said in a tweet on October 24.
Iran’s Army commander has said the Israeli military’s claims that it had sped up alleged Iran strike plans were serving as a death march for the regime’s rulers.
The Israeli regime, which does not abide by international law, possesses nuclear warheads and pursues an active military nuclear program. Israel does not allow IAEA inspectors to inspect its nuclear facilities and has refused to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or any other agreement on its nuclear weapons.
Iran has repeatedly criticized Western countries for following double standards in dealing with Israel’s nuclear weapons program, saying the US and the Israeli regime prevent the establishment of a nuclear weapons-free Middle East region.
In his remarks, Eslami said, in line with its national strategy, Iran has never sought and will not seek to acquire nuclear weapons, stressing the country always acts in full accordance with standards and within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The Iranian nuclear chief emphasized that no sign of deviation in the country's nuclear program has been found during all the inspection procedures that have been conducted so far on Iran’s nuclear sites.
In addition to threatening to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, Israel, which possesses a secretive nuclear weapons program and does not allow any inspection of its nuclear facilities, has in the last two years assassinated top Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh and conducted acts of sabotage at Iranian nuclear sites with total impunity.
Tel Aviv has been also seeking to derail the Vienna talks between Iran and world powers.
Iran and six world powers signed the historic nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015 to reassure the world of the peaceful nature of its nuclear program. However, the deal was abrogated by former US President Donald Trump in 2018 in favor of what he called the “maximum pressure” campaign against the Islamic Republic.
The US’ unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA came as the UN nuclear watchdog has in 15 reports verified Iran’s full compliance with the nuclear deal.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Eslami said arrogant powers thought that they can deal a blow to the Islamic Revolution by assassinating an Iranian nuclear scientist, but such measures were counterproductive and not only failed to weaken Iran’s peaceful nuclear program, but rather led to its strengthening and development.
The AEOI chief further said that other signatories to the JCPOA did not fulfill their commitments stipulated in the nuclear agreement and this explains the reason behind negative media hype against Iran.
Eslami emphasized that the upcoming negotiations in the Austrian capital of Vienna between Iran and the P4+1 group of countries would focus on the return of the other parties to their commitments as per the JCPOA and would have nothing to do with nuclear issues.
Envoys from Iran and the P4+1 – Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – are expected to hold the seventh round of discussions in Vienna on Monday. The negotiations were paused in June, when Iran held its presidential election. Since then, the new Iranian administration has been reviewing the details of the six rounds of discussions held under the previous administration.
In a phone call with the European Union foreign policy chief, Joseph Borrell, on Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said the United States must provide "serious and adequate" guarantees that it will never again unilaterally leave the JCPOA.
Amir-Abdollahian also said participants in the Vienna talks can reach a "good and even immediate agreement" only if the sides return to full compliance with their obligations as per the JCPOA.