Iran Exploiting World’s Focus on Gaza to Advance Nuclear Weaponization

As the world’s attention is diverted to Gaza where Israel is waging a war against Hamas, Iran is working assiduously to develop its nuclear capability.

In an apparent attempt to deflect suspicions that it is working on a bomb, Kamal Kharrazi, an advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, threatened Iran will change its nuclear doctrine and build a nuclear weapon if Israel targets its facilities.

“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 this week, adding that Tehran has already signaled it has the potential to build such weapons.

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

But this is likely a ruse to throw people off Iran’s nuclear trail.

Peter Hoekstra, former chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, who previously served as the American Ambassador to the Netherlands, told JNS it is “unclear” where Iran’s nuclear program stands.

“Most believe the program is at least one year away from actually testing a device,” he said. “There are also those who believe the program may be only months away, while a smaller sample believes Iran may already have a nuclear device.”

It is “very difficult to identify with any precision,” he added.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director Rafael Grossi visited Iran on Monday to try and bolster oversight of Tehran’s nuclear program, based on a March 4, 2023, “Joint Statement” signed between his group and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

Grossi said that the IAEA and Iran have agreed on “tangible and operational steps” to implement the Joint Statement. He dismissed the idea of creating a new agreement.

The IAEA director met with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian as well as Mohammad Eslami, head of the Islamic Republic’s Atomic Energy Organization.

Grossi’s visit comes on the background of heightened regional tensions in the wake of Iran’s April 14 direct attack on Israel and with the IAEA criticizing Tehran for its lack of cooperation on inspections and other outstanding nuclear issues.

The shadow war between Iran and Israel erupted into open confrontation in April, after an alleged Israeli strike on Iran’s embassy compound in Damascus, Syria, which killed several members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including two generals who led the elite Quds Force in Syria and Lebanon.

Iran then attacked Israel by launching about 300 missiles and drones against Israel.

It didn’t take long for Israel to respond. Israeli Transportation Minister Miri Regev confirmed last week that Israel was behind a strike against Iran on April 19.

Israel reportedly bombed an S-300 air-defense battery near the Natanz nuclear site in the Isfahan province, meant as a message to Iran’s leaders that it could target nuclear sites.

Originally appeared in Jewish News Syndicate.