Iran said on Tuesday it would deliver a “decisive response” to any Israeli move against it, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would not allow Tehran to develop nuclear weapons, a news agency close to the Revolutionary Guards said.
On Monday, Iran said it resumed 20 percent uranium enrichment at a nuclear facility, a move that coincides with rising tensions with the United States in the last days of President Donald Trump’s term. The decision is the latest of several Iranian breaches of a 2015 nuclear accord with world powers.
Netanyahu said the move was aimed at developing nuclear weapons and Israel would never allow Tehran to build them. Iran says it has never sought nuclear weapons.
There is no other explanation except for the continued realization of Iran's intention to manufacture nuclear weapons. I reiterate: Israel will not allow Iran to manufacture nuclear weapons."— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) January 4, 2021
Iran’s Nour News quoted an unnamed security official as saying: “This regime (Israel) should be aware that any aggression against Iran’s interests and security from any side and in any way, whether (Israel) admits or denies responsibility, will face a decisive response from Iran against this regime.”
The statement was widely carried by Iranian news agencies and state media.
Separately, Iran on Tuesday gave more details about its enrichment decision by saying it had the capacity to produce up to 9 kg of 20 percent enriched uranium per month.
“At present, we produce 17 to 20 grams of 20 percent uranium every hour,” Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, said according to state media. “We have a monthly production capacity of 8 to 9 kg to reach the 120 kg stipulated by the law.”
The decision to enrich to 20 percent purity was one of many moves mentioned in a law passed by Iran’s hardline-dominated parliament last month in response to the killing of the country’s top nuclear scientist, which Tehran has blamed on Israel.
Tehran started violating the accord in 2019 in a step-by-step response to Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear accord in 2018 and the re-imposition of US sanctions lifted under the deal.