Iran’s Foreign Minister: Israel made ‘bad gamble’ attacking Natanz

Iran’s foreign minister says Iran has the ‘right’ to rebuild the Natanz nuclear facility and equip it with bigger and better centrifuges.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Tuesday said Israel made a “foolish gamble” by attacking an Iranian nuclear facility, giving Iran the “right” to rebuild it to be even bigger and more productive.

“Israel played a very bad gamble if it thought that the attack will weaken Iran’s hand in the nuclear talks,” Zarif said in comments reported by Reuters.

Speaking at a joint news conference in Tehran with visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Zarif called the weekend attack that apparently knocked the Natanz uranium enrichment facility out of commission “nuclear terrorism.”

“Deliberate targeting of a safeguarded nuclear facility—w/ high risk of indiscriminate release of radioactive material—is nuclear terrorism and a war crime,” Zarif tweeted, saying the attack was carried out by Israel to prevent the U.S. returning to the Iran nuclear deal.

“Israel threatened and now boasts about action to prevent restoration of JCPOA after US election,” Zarif tweeted, referring to the deal’s formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that was signed in 2015, from which former President Donald Trump pulled out in 2018.

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“If US wants to avert consequences of this foolish gamble, it must cease to consider economic terrorism perpetrated by Trump or recent nuclear terrorism as negotiating leverage & remove all sanctions imposed, re-imposed or relabeled since the adoption of the JCPOA,” Zarif continued, emphasizing Iran’s hardline position that it would not stop its violations of the JCPOA until after it confirmed that the Biden administration removed all sanctions imposed by Trump.

“After timely verification of removal of all US sanctions, Iran will respond by stopping all remedial measures—which will now take a significant upward leap following this latest terrorist sabotage,” Zarif added, having already said Iran would seek “revenge” against Israel.

In his comments at the press conference, Zarif said the attack gave Iran the “additional opportunity… to rebuild, because now we have the right to compensate for this damage that is done in Natanz.”

“In the near future the Natanz facility will be equipped with the latest generation centrifuges and they will not stop us. We will continue to enrich uranium,” Zarif said.

In January, Iran announced that it was violating the JCPOA by producing uranium enriched to 20%, far beyond what is needed for civilian use.

On Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that Israel will not allow Iran to follow through on its goal of destroying Israel.

“Iran has never given up its quest for nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them, and Iran consistently, consistently and outrageously calls for Israel’s annihilation and works towards that goal,” Netanyahu told Austin.

“My policy as Prime Minister of Israel is clear. I will never allow Iran to obtain the nuclear capability to carry out its genocidal goal of eliminating Israel,” Netanyahu said.