Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif claimed Israel possesses 400 nuclear warheads. He condemned Prime Minister Netanyahu for criticizing a deal that would leave Iran’s nuclear infrastructure intact.
By Lauren Calin, World Israel News
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif claimed Israel possesses 400 nuclear warheads, mocking Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for opposing a deal that would leave most of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure intact. Zarif was speaking at New York University in parallel with the five-year review of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
“The stance of the Israeli leader is laughable,” Zarif told the audience. “Netanyahu has become everyone’s non-proliferation guru sitting on 400 warheads acquired in violation of the UN’s Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).”
Israel, as a non-signatory to the NPT, is not obligated to follow its terms. Although Israel is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons, the country has maintained a strict policy of nuclear ambiguity, saying only that it would not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East. This ambiguity is an important part of Israel’s defense strategy in the face of enemies, including Iran, which threatens to eliminate the Jewish state.
Nonetheless, Israel is attending the NPT review as an observer for the first time in two decades due to the Iranian nuclear threat and its concerns about the draft nuclear agreement.
Iran and the P5+1 hope to reach a finalized nuclear agreement by June 30, although Zarif said, “No time deadline is sacrosanct.” Netanyahu has sharply criticized the deal as paving the way for Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon by leaving its nuclear infrastructure mostly intact and lifting sanctions without adequate verification that Iran is complying with the agreement. US President Barack Obama has admitted that by the time the deal expires, Iran will have zero breakout time to a nuclear weapon.
The framework nuclear deal has also done nothing to address the other ways in which Iran threatens Israel’s existence. Iran continues to funnel money to Hamas and Hezbollah as well as calling for Israel’s destruction. The US has indicated that it will not tie the nuclear agreement to recognition of Israel.