Russian Foreign Ministry: No Evidence That Tehran Wants to Develop Nuclear Weapons
© AP Photo / Mehdi MarizadIn this Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011 file photo, a part of Arak heavy water nuclear facilities is seen, near the central city of Arak, 150 miles (250 kilometers) southwest of the capital Tehran, Iran.
© AP Photo / Mehdi Marizad
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - There is no evidence that Tehran intends to develop nuclear weapons, reviewing its participation in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Vladimir Yermakov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department, said in an interview with Sputnik.
"Iran has been and remains a conscientious participant in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The conclusion of the JCPOA in 2015 helped to finally and irrevocably remove all the questions that the [International Atomic Energy Agency] had to Tehran at that time."
"After that, for several years Iran remained the most verified state among agency members. No deviations from its obligations were identified," Yermakov said. "There is no evidence that would indicate Tehran's intention to ever reconsider its participation in the NPT and start developing a nuclear explosive device."
Yermakov's remarks come as the US undertakes joint military drills with Israel, complete with fighter jet simulations on strikes against Iran's nuclear program infrastructure. Earlier announcements detailed the drills would be held in the Mediterranean Sea starting November 29, and lasting through December 1.
At the time, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz stressed that the drills were needed in order for Israel to "prepare" its service members for any "possibility."
Days before the drills kicked off, US media reported that Tehran was inching toward achieving a weapons-grade enrichment, paving the way for Iran to acquire the technology to assemble nuclear weapons.
However, it's worth noting that Iran has repeatedly indicated it has no intention to create nuclear arms; in fact, Iranian leadership imposed a fatwa in 2003 on the production or usage of any form of nuclear weapons.
Tension between Iran, Israel and the US have remained high for years. Under the Trump administration, however, escalations were at near-boiling after the US withdrew from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, reimposed past sanctions and continued on a "maximum pressure" campaign against Tehran.
Talks to restore the agreement under the Biden White House have remained stalled for months. Iran earlier dispatched a "constructive" response to Washington's proposals but was ultimately shut down by administration officials who deemed the messages "not constructive."