Israel, Iran, and the nuclear option

Could Tehran be poised to revoke its ban on weaponisation?

There has been much speculation recently that Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei may revoke his religious ruling (fatwa) prohibiting the manufacture of nuclear weapons. There have even been suggestions he might already have done so without yet announcing it.

A number of recent developments and statements make these suggestions more plausible:

— Israel’s April 20 drone attack on an airbase in Isfahan near the Natanz nuclear facility, in response to Iran’s drone and missile strike against two Israeli airbases in retaliation for Israel’s bombing of its embassy in Damascus.

— US Senator Lindsey Graham’s public endorsement of the idea of Israel using nuclear weapons to end its current war on the Gaza Strip. He obviously knows that the radioactive fallout from any such attack would be devastating for Israel itself. What he was really alluding to was the nuking of faraway Iran.

— Statements by two Iranian officials noting that the fatwa prohibiting the manufacture and use of nuclear arms is not ‘sacred’ and can be revised. Javad Karimi-Ghodousi, a conservative legislator and national security council member, said on Wednesday that “if Sayyed Khamenei’s fatwa is changed, the first nuclear test will take place within weeks.” Kamal Kharazi, a reformist veteran diplomat and member of Iran’s Strategic External Relations Council, told a conference that if Iran were subjected to a nuclear threat form Israel it would “change its nuclear doctrine immediately.”

— IAEA chief Rafael Grossi’s affirmation that Iran already has enough highly enriched uranium to produce several nuclear bombs.

— Iran’s development of hypersonic Fatah-2 missiles that can carry nuclear warheads a distance of 2,000 km. These are not for show, but to deter Israel, the only nuclear-armed power in the region which uses its nuclear monopoly to threaten all its countries and peoples.

Iran is fully entitled to change its nuclear doctrine if Israel, besieged on many fronts by the Axis of Resistance, resorts to the nuclear option in a bid to sustain its existence and military supremacy.

Last month’s Iranian missile and drone volley against Israel, even though it employed relatively old and ineffective projectiles, changed the rules of the game. It was intended to test Israel and the US’ anti-missile defence systems — including those deployed in Jordan — and they were found to be sorely lacking.

When Senator Graham ‘suggested’ nuking Gaza, he was not speaking for himself, but for the US deep state and its NATO alliance. He was reflecting its dejection at its client Israel’s failure and defeat on multiple fronts.

And when the two Iranian officials spoke about lifting the ban on nuclear weaponisation, they were reflecting their country’s serious preparedness to face up to all eventualities, and to counter any Israeli attack on it, whether conventional or nuclear, in kind.

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