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Iran allegedly has nuclear bombs, Iranian lawmaker claims: Report

Iran's flag (Dreamstime/TNS)
May 13, 2024

An Iranian lawmaker recently claimed that the Islamic Republic of Iran has obtained nuclear weapons. The lawmaker’s claim follows threats by Iranian officials that the country has the capacity to make a nuclear bomb and could choose to make nuclear weapons if its nuclear facilities were attacked.

Fox News reported that Ahmad Bakhshayesh Ardestani, who was re-elected in March to Iran’s parliament, told Rouydad 24, an Iranian-based news outlet, on Friday that Iran had “achieved nuclear weapons.”

“In my opinion, we have achieved nuclear weapons, but we do not announce it,” Ardestani reportedly said. “It means our policy is to possess nuclear bombs, but our declared policy is currently within the framework of the JCPOA.”

According to Fox News, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is the nuclear deal that former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from in 2018 over concerns that the agreement did not adequately prevent Iran’s nuclear weapon program from rapidly advancing. The JCPOA provided economic sanctions relief to Iran in return for guarantees that the country would not produce a nuclear weapon within a specific timeframe.

In addition to claiming that Iran had already obtained nuclear weapons, Ardestani provided an explanation regarding the country’s pursuit of atomic weapons, saying, “The reason is that when countries want to confront others, their capabilities must be compatible, and Iran’s compatibility with America and Israel means that Iran must have nuclear weapons.”

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“In a climate where Russia has attacked Ukraine and Israel has attacked Gaza, and Iran is a staunch supporter of the Resistance Front, it is natural for the containment system to require that Iran possess nuclear bombs,” Ardestani added. “However, whether Iran declares it is another matter.”

Despite the Iranian parliament member’s claim that Iran has already obtained nuclear weapons, policy experts have expressed doubts concerning the status of Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Jason Brodsky, the policy director for United Against a Nuclear Iran, a U.S.-based non-profit advocacy organization, told Fox News, “Ardestani is only a member of parliament, and he’s not in the inner core of the regime’s nuclear decision-making circle, so while his comments are interesting, I think they have to be weighed properly given his access and standing.”

However, two days before Ardestani’s troubling nuclear weapon claim, Kamal Kharrazi, the president of the Iranian Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, said that he had previously announced Iran had both the “absorptive capacity and the capability” to develop a nuclear bomb two years ago.

Kharrazi warned, “Iran still has that capability, but we have not made the decision to produce a nuclear bomb. However, if the Iranian interests are threatened in this manner, we may change this doctrine.”