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Senior Iranian Regime Officials Warn Of Iran's Coming Nuclear Breakout




Since Iran's April 14, 2024 drone and missile attack on Israel, named "True Promise," by the Iranian regime, and against the backdrop of statements by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director general Rafael Grossi that Iran is "weeks rather than months" away from having enough enriched uranium to develop a nuclear bomb, [1] Iranian regime officials, particularly those from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), have stepped up their warnings of coming Iranian nuclear breakout, that is, production of a nuclear bomb.

The open and explicit discussion of this issue seems to herald a change in Iran's nuclear policy, and is aimed at getting the public, in Iran and in the international community, accustomed to the idea that an Iranian nuclear weapon is no longer taboo.

Hints, and even warnings, that Iran will be changing its declared nuclear doctrine from civilian to military, and will act to develop nuclear weapons, have come from the following officials: IRGC Brig. Gen. Ahmad Haq Taleb, who is in charge of security for Iran's nuclear facilities; Javad Karimi Ghadossi, a member of the National Security Committee in the Majlis; Abdallah Ganji, a member of the government's informational council; Saeed Lilaz, reformist activist who served as advisor to Iranian President Mohammad Khatami (1997-2005); and Mahmoud Reza Aghamiri, president of Beheshti University who is himself a nuclear scientist. Also issuing these hints and warnings were various Iranian media outlets.

On April 15, the moderate conservative website Asr-e Iran acknowledged that Iran has the capability to produce a nuclear warhead and warned that it would do so and would use it in its next missile attack on Israel. Abdallah Ganji, the member of the Iranian government's informational council, explained on April 16 in an article in the IRGC-affiliated Javan daily that Iran was in a direct war against the Western nuclear powers and that the smallest mistake on their part could prompt Iran to change its nuclear program.

On April 18, IRGC Brig. Gen. Ahmad Haq Taleb, who is in charge of securing Iran's nuclear facilities, had warned that Iran would rethink its nuclear doctrine – that is, it would act to produce a nuclear weapon if there was a threat from Israel.

Then, several hours after Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Qan'ani announced, in an effort to reassure the West, that "nuclear weapons have no place in Iran's defensive doctrine,"[2] Majlis National Security Committee member Javad Karimi Ghadossi tweeted in Farsi on April 22 that "if approval is given [by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei], it will be a week until the first [nuclear] test."

To date, regime officials have frequently mentioned the nonexistent nuclear fatwa attributed to Supreme Leader Khamenei that they say bans the production of nuclear weapons (see Appendix II: MEMRI Reports On The Nonexistent Nuclear Fatwa). This has been in order to lay to rest the international community's fears about Iran's development of its nuclear program. In recent days, several officials, among them Beheshti University president and nuclear scientist Mohammad Reza Aghamiri, have told Iran's Channel 2 TV that Khamenei can change this fatwa at any time.

All this is in addition to statements by American Iranian Council (AIC) founder and president and Rutgers University professor Hooshang Amirahmadi,[3] who unsuccessfully ran for president of Iran in 2005, 2013, and 2017. He said that Iran must change its declaration that Islam bans nuclear weapons and instead declare that it does not ban them, and that it should produce them as its only deterrence against Israel.

Another notable claim made by several officials who have called for developing nuclear weapons is that Iran has the right to defend itself. The premise is that although Iran attacked Israel, the world considers this a defensive move. That is, Iran views its offensive move as defensive after Israel's April 1 attack on IRGC officials in Damascus, from there considers that it is entitled to respond by changing its nuclear strategy from civilian to military.

It should be noted that this claim in statements by Iranian officials justifying the Iranian regime's development and possession of nuclear weapons as a defensive response was already raised when President Biden took office in January 2021, particularly in the context of the impasse in the nuclear negotiations with the U.S. in August 2022. (see Appendix I: Iranian Officials Call For Obtaining And Producing Nuclear Weapons – MEMRI TV Clips And Reports 2021-22.)

Then too, Iranian spokesmen described a situation in which Iran's development of nuclear weapons was a defensive response to a possible attack on Iran, or that it would officially serve as compensation for additional future U.S. violations of the JCPOA nuclear agreement. By "violations," they meant another U.S. withdrawal from the agreement if it reentered it, or in the event that the U.S. reneged on any economic commitments it would make to Iran. (See MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 1648, Shift In Iranian Regime Statements On Nuclear Weapons: Regime Spokesmen Talk Openly About Them, Aiming For Western Acquiescence To Iran As A Nuclear Threshold State, August 2, 2022.

The proliferation of these messages from so many Iranian sources within a short span of time calling for producing nuclear weapons for "self defense" indicate a new line of policy, decided in advance and supported by Iran's leadership. This report will review the Iranian regime's warnings of coming nuclear breakout by the Iranian regime:

Javad Karimi Ghadossi, Majlis National Security Council Member And Former Senior IRGC Official: "If Approval Is Given [By Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei], It Will Be A Week Until The First [Nuclear] Test"

On April 22, 2024, Javad Karimi Ghadossi, Majlis National Security Council member and former senior IRGC official, warned that Iran would carry out a nuclear test within a week of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's order to do so. The following is his post on X:

"If approval is given [by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei], it will be a week until the first [nuclear] test. #Iranian_Might"