Commentary Magazine


Iran’s Long History of Nuclear Threats

Over at the Washington Free Beacon, Adam Kredo notes that yet another Iranian official has suggested that the Islamic Republic should utilize nuclear weapons in order to eradicate Israel:

A top Iranian lawmaker and cleric said that the country’s uranium enrichment program could allow it to build a nuclear weapon “in two weeks” in order to “put down Israel,” according to multiple reports in the Farsi language press. Iranian lawmaker and cleric Muhammad Nabavian said on Friday that Iran would be able to build a nuclear bomb in “two weeks” if it gets “access to 270 kilograms of 20 percent [enriched uranium], 10 tons of 5 percent, and 20 thousand centrifuges,” according to reports on Iran’s Radio Farda and in Fararu.

Nabavian’s statements may be shocking—seldom since President Hassan Rouhani took office and launched his diplomatic offensive have the views of those in Supreme Leader (and ultimate power) Ali Khamenei’s circle shown so clearly through—but they are not the first nor even the second nor third time that Iranian officials have let it be known that dropping an atomic bomb on Israel is not only possible but preferable:

  • December 14, 2001: Expediency Council chairman (and ex-president) Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, labelled a moderate or pragmatist by American journalists and diplomats, declared, “The use of an atomic bomb against Israel would totally destroy Israel, while the same against the Islamic world would only cause damage. Such a scenario is not inconceivable.”
  • February 14, 2005: Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer Kharrazi, secretary-general of Iranian Hezbollah, declared, “We are able to produce atomic bombs and we will do that. We shouldn’t be afraid of anyone. The U.S. is not more than a barking dog.”
  • May 29, 2005, Hojjat ol-Islam Gholam Reza Hasani, the supreme leader’s personal representative to the province of West Azerbaijan: “An atom bomb … must be produced as well… because the Qur’an has told Muslims to ‘get strong and amass all the forces at your disposal to be strong.’”
  • February 2006: Mohsen Gharavian, a Qom theologian close to Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi, was quoted on the Rooz website as saying it was only “natural” for the Islamic Republic to possess nuclear weapons.

Perhaps negotiator Wendy Sherman and Secretary of State John Kerry should not be so grateful that Mohammad Javad Zarif, a man who as foreign minister has absolutely no power to affect Iranian behavior, has promised them that they can take Iran at its word.