Iran‘s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is said to be behind the chilling message which appeared on Iranian regime-linked Telegram channels on Monday, along with footage from an underground Iranian nuclear facility. In the video, the Islamic republic is reported to threaten to weaponize the country’s atomic energy programme and build a missile capable of destroying a US city.
“The nuclear facilities of Fordow have been built deep under mountains of Iran and are protected against trench-busting bombs and even nuclear explosion,” boasts the narrator of the video according to Iranian-linked news outlets.
“All infrastructures required for nuclear breakout have been prepared in it.”
The video goes on to threaten the US with ballistic missiles capable of “turning New York into hellish ruins.”
The New York Post reports that the secret underground facilities in the video are in Fordow, near the city of Qom.
It comes Mohammad Eslami, head of Iran’s atomic energy organisation, said on Monday that the country has the technical capability to produce an atomic bomb but has no intention of doing so, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.
Eslami reiterated comments made by Kamal Kharrazi, a senior adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in July.
Kharrazi’s remarks amounted to a rare suggestion that the Islamic Republic might have an interest in nuclear weapons, which it has long denied seeking.
“As Mr. Kharrazi mentioned, Iran has the technical ability to build an atomic bomb, but such a program is not on the agenda,” said Eslami.
Iran is already enriching uranium to up to 60 percent fissile purity, far above a cap of 3.67 percent set under Tehran’s now tattered 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
Uranium enriched to 90 percent is suitable for a nuclear bomb.
In 2018, former US President Donald Trump ditched the nuclear pact, under which Iran curbed its uranium enrichment work, a potential pathway to nuclear weapons, in exchange for relief from international economic sanctions.
Iran has responded to top European Union diplomat Josep Borrell’s proposal aimed at salvaging the nuclear accord, and seeks a swift conclusion to negotiations, the top Iranian nuclear negotiator said on Sunday.
Borrell said he had proposed a new draft text to revive the deal.
“After exchanging messages last week and reviewing the proposed texts, there is a possibility that in the near future we will be able to reach a conclusion about the timing of a new round of nuclear negotiations,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said.
The broad outline of a revived deal was essentially agreed in March after 11 months of indirect talks in Vienna between Tehran and US President Joe Biden administration.
But talks then broke down over obstacles including Tehran’s demand that Washington should give guarantees that no US president will abandon the deal, the same way Trump did.