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Apr 18, 2024

Iran warns it could review nuclear stance if Israel threatens atomic sites

Revolutionary Guards issue warning as Israel vows retaliation for missile and drone attack

By Najmeh Bozorgmehr in London

Tehran has warned Israel it could review its nuclear stance if its atomic facilities are threatened, as tensions rise following Iran’s attack on Israeli territory last weekend.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday it may “reconsider” its nuclear policy, which it has long insisted is for civilian purposes but which western powers worry has put the Islamic republic on the threshold of weapons capacity.

“Reconsidering the nuclear doctrine and policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran . . . is probable and imaginable, if the fake Zionist regime threatens to attack our country’s nuclear centres,” said Major General Ahmad Haq Talab, who oversees the security of nuclear installations.

His comments were published in the semi-official Tasnim news agency, which is affiliated with the Guards, Iran’s most powerful military force.

They come as Israel is pledging to respond to last weekend’s Iranian attack, in which more than 300 missiles and drones were fired at the Jewish state.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, has repeatedly expressed concerns about Iran’s expansive nuclear programme. Tehran has for three years been enriching uranium at levels close to weapons grade.

Haq Talab warned Israel that any aggression against Iran’s nuclear facilities would be reciprocated at Israel’s atomic sites — which the Jewish state has never acknowledged possessing.

The warning came as Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, said Israel should make a “restrained answer” to Iran’s strike, which was in retaliation for an attack on the Islamic republic’s consulate in Syria that was blamed on Israel.

“We have to ask Israel for a restrained answer to the Iranians’ attack,” Borrell said at a meeting of G7 foreign ministers in Capri in Italy.

“We cannot escalate . . . We are on the edge of a regional war in the Middle East, which will be sending shockwaves to the rest of the world.”

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