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Iran Threatens Nuclear Policy Reassessment



Iran's recent missile and drone attack on Israeli soil and growing tension with Israel following the ongoing war in Gaza has reignited scrutiny of its nuclear program and its stance on developing nuclear weapons. Concerns have also risen about Iran's advanced enrichment program, uranium stockpiles, and the reduced ability of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor its activities.


In this regard, Iran's nuclear doctrine has been a subject of intense scrutiny and debate, with recent statements from top Iranian pol.-mil. officials sparking concerns about potential shifts in policy. Amid escalating tensions with Israel and international pressure, various voices within Iran's leadership and media have contemplated the country's nuclear stance, raising questions about its future trajectory.


While Tehran publically maintains its commitment to peaceful nuclear activities, recent remarks insinuated the likelihood of internal debate regarding revising its doctrine in response to perceived internal and external threats. In this regard, the management of succession by Iran's Supreme Leader, particularly in light of the recent death of potential successor Ebrahim Raisi, could have significant implications for Iran's stance on its military nuclear doctrine.


Senior IRGC Cmdr. Threatens Nuclear Policy Reassessment



On April 18, Brigadier General Ahmad Haq Talab, Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) responsible for the security of Iran's nuclear facilities, stressed that "If Israel persists in threatening Iran's nuclear sites, it may prompt Iran to reassess its nuclear doctrine and policies. It is conceivable that Iran would review its nuclear policy and doctrine, potentially breaching prior commitments and limitations."


He highlighted Israel's ongoing threats and noted that despite international protocols and standards discouraging attacks on nuclear facilities, Iran has always been prepared to counter such threats. Haq Talab made it clear that Iran is well-equipped to respond to "any aggression or threats" from Israel and has advanced missile capabilities ready to retaliate if needed. He further stated that if Israel attempts any hostile action against Iran's nuclear facilities, there will be a swift and definite response targeting Israel's nuclear sites and other strategic infrastructure locations, adding that Iran possesses comprehensive intelligence on such targets and has prepared a plan to launch powerful missiles to destroy them.


Media Responses and Analytical Perspectives


In an editorial for Arman-e Emrooz titled "Behind the Scenes of a Threat," Alireza Taqavi Nia analyzed the implications of Major General Ahmad Haqtalab's statement on Iran's potential shift in nuclear policy. The editorial emphasized that this unprecedented comment by a high-ranking IRGC official indicates a significant change in Iran's stance on its nuclear program. Historically, Iran's nuclear policies focused on peaceful applications while avoiding the development of nuclear weapons. However, General Haqtalab's remarks suggest that if Israeli threats continue, Iran might reconsider its nuclear doctrine. This shift could represent a move away from prior limitations, leading to a reevaluation of defense strategies. The editorial underscored the point that national security is a red line for any nation, and Iran must protect its interests, possibly leading to a reevaluation of its stance on nuclear non-proliferation. Taqavi Nia's article suggests that Israel should take these statements seriously, recognizing that Iran could alter its nuclear approach if its security is at risk. If conventional defenses are inadequate, a shift in Iran's nuclear doctrine could become a reality. The editorial also highlighted Iran's existing capabilities in uranium enrichment, metal production, and missile technology, indicating that any shift in nuclear policy could be implemented swiftly with the guidance of Iran's top leadership.


President Raisi: based on the Leader's fatwa, nuclear weapons have no place.


President Ebrahim Raisi passed away following a helicopter crash on May 19 described in the opening ceremony of Iran's Sixth Export Potential Exhibition (April 27) the sanctions imposed on Iran, including those on its military and nuclear programs, as ineffective, stressing that  Tehran had had the most significant "success" in those two fields. "Despite the pressures, we have achieved the greatest successes in the military and nuclear industries. However, within Iran's (military) doctrine and based on the fatwa of the Supreme Leader and the source of emulation for Muslims, nuclear weapons have no place. But we will utilize this technology extensively in various sectors, including agriculture, industry, oil, petrochemicals, and medicine." (ئیس جمهور با اشاره به اینکه هر جا و در هر زمینه‌ای که بیشترین فشار به ایران اسلامی وارد شده در همانجا بیشترین موفقیت برای ما به‌دست آمده است، افزود: امروز ما در صنایع نظامی و هسته‌ای به رغم فشارها بیشترین موفقیت‌ها را کسب کرده‌ایم، البته در دکترین جمهوری اسلامی ایران و بنا به فتوای رهبری معظم انقلاب و مرجع تقلید مسلمین، سلاح هسته‌ای جایی ندارد، اما ما از این فناوری در بخش‌های مختلف کشاورزی، صنعت، نفت و (پتروشیمی و پزشکی ( استفاده‌های فراوانی خواهیم داشت.

 

Supreme Leader's Defiant Stance

Amidst recent murmurs from conservative quarters suggesting Tehran's readiness to pursue nuclear armament if necessary, Khamenei himself stepped forward on April 24 to staunchly defend Iran's contentious nuclear endeavors. He adamantly declared Iran's refusal to succumb to external pressures to follow "their colonial and arrogant lines", firmly rebuffing Western policy regarding its nuclear program.


 "While the West claims its sanctions aim to prevent nuclear proliferation and safeguard human rights, Iran is confident that these are just pretexts". Khamenei suggested that the U.S. has no clear boundaries for what would satisfy them regarding Iran's nuclear program. …the U.S. wouldn't set a limit because it ultimately seeks to dismantle Iran's entire nuclear program. Khamenei emphasized that despite the sanctions, Iran has made significant progress in nuclear technology, even surprising Western powers with its achievements.


Khamenei's recent reassertion of Iran's nuclear pursuits as emblematic of national resilience against Western coercion underscores an unwavering dedication to Iran's strategic goals. While emphasizing the program's "peaceful intentions," Khamenei's resolute rhetoric underscores Iran's resolve to safeguard its nuclear sovereignty amidst external pressures and despite ongoing sanctions.

 

Kamal Kharrazi's Warning  and Iran's Foreign Ministry Stance and


On May  8, Kamal Kharrazi, a former foreign minister and a current adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, said in an interview with Al Jazeera TV that Iran would have to amend its nuclear doctrine if Israel threatened its existence "We have no decision to produce a nuclear bomb, but if the existence of Iran is threatened, we will have to change our nuclear doctrine," He said Iran's "level of deterrence will be different if the Zionist regime dares to damage Iran's nuclear facilities", adding that Iranian military officials had already said that it was possible to revise Iran's nuclear doctrine and "deviate from the previously declared considerations."


In the wake of global discussions surrounding the statements by several Iranian officials about reconsidering Iran's nuclear doctrine, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson stressed (May 15) that Tehran's nuclear doctrine "has not changed," referring to an (alleged) 2003 fatwa (religious edict) by Khamenei banning weapons of mass destruction.


Part of the statement reads: "The Islamic Republic of Iran has repeatedly reiterated and emphasized its principled stance against the production, maintenance, accumulation, and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, based on its nuclear doctrine. This stance is rooted in the principled approach of our country and also based on the explicit fatwa of the Supreme Leader.


"Following this principled approach, our country has ratified international treaties and conventions prohibiting weapons of mass destruction, including the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), and the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). Iran has also signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The Supreme Leader has also emphasized Iran's opposition to the use of nuclear weapons, declaring his view and fatwa that the use of inhumane weapons is forbidden based on the principles of Islam. He has stressed that we believe the existence of nuclear weapons poses a threat to international peace and security and humanity. Additionally, the universality of the NPT, especially in the West Asia region, has been and continues to be one of the Islamic Republic of Iran's significant goals. Unfortunately, in the West Asia region, the only usurping, criminal, and illegitimate Zionist regime has not joined the treaties and conventions on the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Therefore, there has been no change in the nuclear doctrine of the Islamic Republic of Iran".


Majlis member: Iran has acquired nuclear weapon


On May 8, Majlis (parliament) member Ahmad Bakhshayesh Ardestani(former member of the Majlis National Security Commission) presents Rouydad 24 outlet several reasons why he believes Iran has already acquired nuclear weapons but chooses not to declare them: "It seems that Iran has acquired nuclear weapons, enabling it to confidently target Israel and previously launch (retaliatory)  attacks on the US base in Ain al-Assad (Iraq) ". Iran's actions align with a policy of possessing nuclear weapons while publicly adhering to the framework of the JCPOA. Iran's behavior towards the US and Israel suggests nuclear capability, even though it has not officially declared it. Bakhshayesh questions whether Iran needs to assert its possession of nuclear weapons, given the international context and potential consequences, adding that The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) may not have direct evidence of Iran's possession of nuclear weapons but relies on estimations of Iran's progress.


Bakhshayesh underscores Iran's strategic imperative for nuclear armament in response to perceived threats from the US and Israel. Iran's conduct hints at a gradual embrace of its nuclear capability by the global community. He anticipates eventual recognition of Iran's nuclear status, foreseeing shifts in international dynamics, possibly including backing from Russia and China. The author concludes that the international community will ultimately acknowledge and accommodate Iran's nuclear status despite potential heightened sanctions. Bakhshayesh highlights Iran's increased regional and global appeal following the Gaza conflict, indicating a bolstering of its perceived influence.


The debate surrounding Iran's nuclear doctrine has intensified, with key figures within Iran's leadership and media weighing in on the country's future trajectory. Amidst murmurs from conservative quarters suggesting Tehran's readiness for nuclear armament, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei staunchly defended Iran's nuclear pursuits, asserting its refusal to yield to external pressures.


The recent death of potential successor Ebrahim Raisi and discussions about succession management have added complexity to Iran's stance on its military nuclear doctrine. While Tehran publicly reiterates its commitment to peaceful nuclear activities, statements hinting at a potential reconsideration of its doctrine in response to threats from Israel have raised eyebrows internationally.


Despite affirmations from Iran's Foreign Ministry that its nuclear doctrine remains unchanged, the ongoing discourse underscores the growing concerns surrounding Iran's nuclear ambitions.

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