Iran’s Zarif: If Iran wanted, we would already have a nuclear weapon

Zarif said that the uranium enriched by the Islamic republic could immediately be scaled back to comply with the nuclear deal if the US lifts sanctions.

If Iran wanted a nuclear weapon, it would have built one already, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said in an interview with CNN published Tuesday.

“If we wanted to build a nuclear weapon, we could have done it some time ago,” he told Christiane Amanpour. “But we decided that nuclear weapons are not, would not augment our security and are in contradiction to our, eh, ideological views. And that is why we never pursued nuclear weapons.”

On Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told NBC if Iran violated additional restrictions included in the 2015 nuclear deal, it could obtain enough fissionable material for a bomb within “a matter of weeks.”

The uranium enriched by Iran could immediately be scaled back to comply with the nuclear deal if the US lifts sanctions, Zarif said.

“Eight thousand pounds of enriched uranium can go back to the previous amount in less than a day,” he said.

President Joe Biden’s administration has a “limited window of opportunity” to reenter the 2015 nuclear agreement, Zarif said.

“The time for the United States to come back to the nuclear agreement is not unlimited,” he said. “The United States has a limited window of opportunity, because President Biden does not want to portray himself as trying to take advantage of the failed policies of the former Trump administration.”

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell can “sort of choreograph the actions that are needed to be taken by the United States and the actions that are needed to be taken by Iran,” Zarif told CNN.

“There can be a mechanism to basically either synchronize it or coordinate what can be done,” he said when asked how to bridge the gap between Washington and Tehran. Each government wants the other to resume compliance first.

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