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Iran warns of shift in nuclear stance if Israel threatens atomic sites

Iran has warned Israel it is likely to review its nuclear posture if its nuclear facilities are threatened, as tensions rise following the Islamic republic’s drone and missile attack on Israel over the weekend.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said Thursday that Tehran may “reconsider” its nuclear policy, which it has long maintained is purely peaceful but which Western powers say has put it on the verge of statehood. equipped with weapons.

The warning came as the United States and the United Kingdom announced new sanctions against Iran’s drone program in response to Saturday’s attack on Israel.

“Reconsider the nuclear doctrine and policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran. . . It is likely and imaginable if the fake Zionist regime threatens to attack our country’s nuclear centers,” said General Ahmad Haq Talab, who oversees the security of Iran’s nuclear facilities.

His comments were published in the semi-official Tasnim news agency, affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s most powerful military force.

The regime’s hardliners have previously threatened that during times of heightened tensions with the West, Iran could withdraw from the non-proliferation treaty, which governs the countries’ nuclear facilities.

Haq Talab warned Israel that any aggression against Iranian facilities would be reciprocated against Israeli nuclear weapons sites – possession of which the Jewish state has never acknowledged.

Israel has pledged to respond to last weekend’s Iranian attack, in which Tehran fired more than 300 missiles and drones.

The attack prompted Washington on Thursday to announce sanctions against 16 individuals and two companies that help produce unmanned aerial vehicles, such as drones, in coordination with measures announced by the United Kingdom.

“We are determined to act collectively to increase economic pressure on Iran,” US President Joe Biden said, adding that his administration “will not hesitate to take whatever steps are necessary” to hold Tehran accountable.

“Our allies and partners have issued or will impose additional sanctions and measures to restrict Iran’s destabilizing military programs,” Biden said.

Other restrictions announced by the United Kingdom on Thursday include measures against Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Gharaei Ashtiani, the Iranian Minister of Defense, as well as against institutions and personnel responsible for the operational command of the Iranian armed forces.

Tehran said it launched last weekend’s attack – its first-ever direct attack on Israel from Iranian soil – in retaliation for a suspected Israeli airstrike on its consulate in Damascus, which killed seven members of the Revolutionary Guards , including two senior commanders.

The United States and other Western allies have pressured Israel to show restraint, fearing that hostilities between Iran and Israel could trigger widespread conflict in the Middle East.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday: “I want to be clear: we will make our own decisions and the State of Israel will do whatever is necessary to defend itself. »

A satellite image of the Natanz nuclear site in Iran
A satellite image of the Natanz nuclear site in Iran © Planet Labs/PBC/AP

Israel has given no indication of the timing or extent of its response, while Iran has vowed to retaliate against any Israeli strike against the republic.

“We are on the brink of a regional war in the Middle East,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned at the G7 foreign ministers meeting on Thursday, calling on Israel to “ a moderate response to the Iranian attack.

Netanyahu has repeatedly threatened over the years to take steps to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

The U.S.-based Arms Control Association said in a newspaper this week that targeting Iran’s nuclear sites “would be a reckless and irresponsible escalation that would increase the risk of a broader regional war.” . . and is more likely to push Tehran to decide that the development of nuclear weapons is necessary to deter future attacks.”

Tehran and Washington have been plunged into a nuclear crisis since President Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned the agreement Tehran had signed with world powers in 2018, imposing waves of sanctions on the republic.

Under the 2015 deal, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear activity and impose a strict monitoring regime from the International Atomic Energy Agency in exchange for sanctions relief.

But after Trump withdrew the United States from the deal, Tehran responded by aggressively ramping up its program, installing advanced centrifuges and enriching uranium to 60% purity, the highest level highest ever reached in Iran.

Experts typically cite 90% purity as weapons-grade, but Iran has already taken the toughest technical steps to reach that point.

Efforts by the Biden administration to revive the 2015 deal failed, and Iran developed the capacity to produce enough fissile material needed to make a nuclear weapon in about two weeks.

In September, the United States and Iran agreed to a prisoner swap and Washington unfrozen $6 billion in Iranian oil. It was hoped that enemies would build on these agreements to agree to de-escalation measures, including Iran capping its uranium enrichment.

But any hope of progress was dashed by the Hamas attack on October 7 and Israeli reprisals in Gaza. In the months that followed, Iranian-backed militants attacked Israel and U.S. forces in the region as hostilities escalated across the Middle East.

Israel exchanges daily fire with Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group and Iran’s main proxy, and targets members of the Revolutionary Guards in Syria.

The IAEA still has inspectors in Iran, but the U.N. watchdog and Western governments have repeatedly accused Tehran of not cooperating with the agency.

Iran’s nuclear chief Mohammad Eslami told reporters on Wednesday that the republic could remain committed to the 2015 nuclear deal if other signatories kept their promises to ease sanctions on Iran. He said the IAEA chief would visit Iran “soon” to “update” mutual agreements.

News Source : www.ft.com
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jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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