Iran to change nuclear doctrine if existence threatened, adviser to Supreme Leader says

By Thomson Reuters May 9, 2024 | 12:21 AM

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran will have to change its nuclear doctrine if its existence is threatened by Israel, an adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Kamal Kharrazi said, raising concerns about an Iranian nuclear weapon.

“We have no decision to build a nuclear bomb, but should Iran’s existence be threatened, there will be no choice but to change our military doctrine,” Kharrazi said, as reported by Iran’s Student News Network on Thursday, adding that Tehran has already signalled it has the potential to build such weapons.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei banned the development of nuclear weapons in a fatwa in the early 2000s, reiterating his stance in 2019 by saying: “Building and stockpiling nuclear bombs is wrong and using it is haram (religiously forbidden) … Although we have nuclear technology, Iran has firmly avoided it.”

However, Iran’s then-intelligence minister said in 2021 that Western pressure could push Tehran to seek nuclear weapons.

“In the case of an attack on our nuclear facilities by the Zionist regime (Israel), our deterrence will change,” Kharrazi added.

In April, Iran and Israel reached their highest level of tensions, with Tehran directly launching about 300 missiles and drones against Israel as retaliation for a suspected deadly Israeli strike on its embassy compound in Damascus.

(Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; Editing by Michael Georgy and Gerry Doyle)