Iranian commander says Tehran to review 'nuclear doctrine' amid Israeli threats

Tehran's head of nuclear security says signs of possible retaliation following assault on Israel could move nuclear program away from 'peaceful tpurposes'; 'Our missiles are aimed at your sites'

Iran could review its "nuclear doctrine" following Israeli threats of retaliation against Tehran following its attack on the country, a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander said on Thursday, raising concerns about Tehran's nuclear program which it has always said was strictly for peaceful purposes.
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בנימין נתניהו, f-35, עלי חמינאי
בנימין נתניהו, f-35, עלי חמינאי
Ali Khamenei, Iranian uranium refineries, Benjamin Netanyahu
(Photo: AFP / HO / KHAMENEI.IR, Alex Kolomoisky)
Israel has said it will retaliate against Iran's April 13 missile and drone attack, which Tehran says was carried out in response to a suspected Israeli strike on its embassy compound in Damascus earlier this month.
"The threats of the Zionist regime (Israel) against Iran's nuclear facilities make it possible to review our nuclear doctrine and deviate from our previous considerations," Ahmad Haghtalab, the Guards commander in charge of nuclear security, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Tasnim news agency.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has the final say on Tehran's nuclear program, which the West suspects has military purposes.
In 2021, Iran's then-intelligence minister said Western pressure could push Tehran to seek nuclear weapons, the development of which Khamenei banned in a fatwa, or religious decree, in the early 2000s.
"Building and stockpiling nuclear bombs is wrong and using it is haram (religiously forbidden) ... Although we have nuclear technology, Iran has firmly avoided it," Khamenei reiterated in 2019.
Iran's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
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נשיא איראן אברהים ראיסי
נשיא איראן אברהים ראיסי
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi
"If the Zionist regime wants to take action against our nuclear centers and facilities, we will surely and categorically reciprocate with advanced missiles against their own nuclear sites," Haghtalab said.
Indirect talks between Tehran and Washington to revive Iran's 2015 nuclear pact has stalled since 2022. The accord, aimed at keeping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, required Tehran to accept restrictions on its nuclear program and more extensive United Nations' inspections, in exchange for an end to U.N., European Union and U.S. sanctions.
The deal, which had capped Iran's uranium enrichment at 3.67%, was abandoned in 2018 by then-U.S. President Donald Trump, who said it was too generous to Tehran.
Rafael Grossi, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog, said in February that Iran continued to enrich uranium at rates up to 60% purity, which is far beyond the needs for commercial nuclear use.
Meanwhile, the U.S. on Thursday issued several new sanctions against Iranian regime operatives in an attempt to push Israel toward more limited actions against Tehran's assault.
The U.S. Treasury Department statement said the measures targeted 16 individuals and two entities enabling Iran's UAV production, including engine types that power Iran's Shaheed variant UAVs, which were used in the April 13 attack.
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נשיא ארה"ב ג'ו ביידן
נשיא ארה"ב ג'ו ביידן
Joe Biden
(Photo: AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
The Treasury said it was also designating five companies in multiple jurisdictions providing component materials for steel production to Iran's Khuzestan Steel Company (KSC), one of Iran's largest steel producers, or purchasing KSC's finished steel products. Also targeted, the statement said, were three subsidiaries of Iranian automaker Bahman Group, which it said had materially supported Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The UK moved to place sanctions on the Iranians alongside the U.S. "The UK has sanctioned a further seven individuals and six entities who have enabled Iran to conduct destabilizing regional activity, including its direct attack on Israel," the British government said in a statement.
"This adds to the 400 plus sanctions already imposed on Iran. Previous sanctions include the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in its entirety and many of those responsible for the attack on Israel."
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