Israel: If Iran continues pursuing a nuclear program, it will face a ‘military answer’

Iran’s Parliament Speaker Al Larijani revealed that his country possesses between 3,000 and 4,000 active centrifuges, a figure still within the limit allowed under the JCPOA, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which is the technical term for the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran. According to the multi-lateral deal, the Islamic Republic is allowed to operate up to 5,060 first-generation centrifuges for 10 years at its Natanz plant and 10,44 first-generation centrifuges at its underground Fordow enrichment plat – figures that according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has adhered to.

The rare announcement of specific data on Iran’s nuclear program came days after Iran’s nuclear chief declared the completion of a near nuclear facility that has the capacity of building advanced centrifuges. Iranian officials said it will increase its capacity to enrich uranium if the nuclear agreement would collapse, following Washington’s withdrawal. According to Iran’s nuclear Chief Ali Akbar Salehi, the Islamic Republic is keen on preserving the JCPOA, but warned that if it would collapse, Iran’s infrastructure to increase the number of nuclear centrifuges has become stronger than ever before. In a veiled threat to Israel, Ali Akbar Salehi also said in an interview to the Associated Press in Tehran that the consequences will be “harsh” if there are any new attacks targeting Iran’s nuclear scientists. The threat comes after a string of bombings, that were blamed on Israel, targeted a number of scientists beginning in 2010 at the height of Western concerns over Iran’s nuclear program. While Israel never claimed responsibility for the attacks on the scientists, Israeli officials have boasted in the past about the reach of the country’s intelligence services. Meanwhile, in response to the Iranian threat towards Israel, Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz announced that “if Iran chooses to continue pursuing a nuclear program, it will face a ‘military’ answer.”