Iran threatened a “crushing response” on Tuesday after a report President Donald Trump spoke with advisors about a U.S. strike on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure last week.
The New York Times reported on Monday that Trump had sought options last week on ways to limit Iran’s nuclear development, including through a missile or cyber strike targeting an Iranian nuclear facility. After the report, Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei, threatened relation for “any action against the Iranian nation,” in a statement reported by Reuters.
“Any action against the Iranian nation would certainly face a crushing response,” Rabiei said.
Rabiei also said, “I personally don’t foresee that it’s probable that they (the United States) would want to cause insecurity in the world and the region.”
Trump’s reported talks of options against Iran came shortly after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concluded its latest inspection report of Iran’s nuclear activities, and found Iran has stockpiled 12 times the limit of uranium allowed in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Under the Iran nuclear deal, Iran is allowed to stockpile 202.8 kilograms (447 pounds) of uranium, but according to the latest IAEA report, it has instead stockpiled 2,442.9 kilograms (5385.7 pounds) of uranium, according to the IAEA.
The New York Times report stated any strike Trump was considering against Iran, whether by a missile attack or cyber means, would likely target Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility, where the IAEA identified the illicit uranium supply.
During the meeting, Pompeo and Milley reportedly laid out the potential risks of military escalation if Trump were to act against Iran. Trump’s advisors reportedly left the meeting believing a missile strike inside Iran was no longer a potential option.
The New York Times reported Trump may still be considering options for striking Iran’s assets and allies elsewhere, including targeting Iran-backed militias in Iraq. Diplomats have told the New York Times that Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi would almost certainly object to the U.S. killing of Iraqis on Iraqi soil, even if they are part of Iranian-backed militias.
According to an Institute for Science and International Security analysis of the IAEA report, Iran has sufficient low enriched uranium to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for two nuclear weapons within about six months.
Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, in comments reported by Reuters, said, “If I were the Iranians, I would not feel at ease.”
In further comments on Israel’s Army Radio, Steinitz also said, “It is very important that the Iranians know that if, indeed, they suddenly dash toward high levels of enrichment, in the direction of nuclear weaponry, they are liable to encounter the military might of the United States – and also, perhaps, of other countries.”