Iranian FM: We'll make Israel 'regret' any reprisal

Iran warns it may revise its ‘nuclear doctrine,’ threatens to hit Israeli nuclear sites

Amid expectation of Israeli reprisal for attack, IRGC nuclear chief says Iran has the information it needs to strike the Jewish state's nuclear facilities

The head of Iran's Nuclear Protection and Security Corps Ahmad Haghtalab threatens to revise Iran's nuclear doctrine, and to target Israel's nuclear facilities if it strikes Iranian nuclear sites, during a televised interview, April 18, 2024. (IRIB/AFP)

Iran could review its “nuclear doctrine” following Israeli threats to strike the country, a senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander said on Thursday, as the world braces for an Israeli response to Tehran’s unprecedented April 13 drone and missile attack on it.

Tehran has always insisted its nuclear program was strictly for peaceful purposes, a claim Israel and much of the Western world dismiss.

“The threats of the Zionist regime against Iran’s nuclear facilities make it possible to revise our nuclear doctrine and deviate from our previous considerations,” Ahmad Haghtalab, the Guards commander in charge of nuclear security, was quoted as saying by the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

Haghtalab also said Iran would “definitely” reciprocate any Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities. “We know exactly where the enemy’s main nuclear sites are,” he said.

“Hands are on the trigger to fire powerful missiles for the total destruction of determined targets.”

“If the Zionist regime wants to take action against our nuclear centers and facilities, it will definitely and surely face our reaction,” the official news agency IRNA quoted Haghtalab as saying. “For the counterattack, the nuclear facilities of the (Israeli) regime will be targeted and operated upon with advanced weaponry.”

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (front) visits an exhibition of the country’s nuclear industry achievements in Tehran, on June 11, 2023, accompanied by the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Mohammad Eslami (L). (

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has the last say on Tehran’s nuclear program, which the West suspects has military purposes.

In 2021, Iran’s then-intelligence minister said Western pressure could push Tehran to seek nuclear weapons, the development of which Khamenei ostensibly banned in a fatwa, or religious decree, in the early 2000s.

“Building and stockpiling nuclear bombs is wrong and using it is haram [religiously forbidden]… Although we have nuclear technology, Iran has firmly avoided it,” Khamenei reiterated in 2019.

However, Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in February that Iran continued to enrich uranium at rates up to 60 percent purity, which is far beyond the needs for commercial nuclear use and is a short technical step away from weapons-grade 90%.

This video grab from AFPTV taken on April 14, 2024, shows explosions lighting up the sky over the West Bank city of Hebron, during an Iranian attack on Israel. (AFPTV/AFP)

Haghtalab’s statement comes as IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi has vowed a response to the Iranian aerial attack, which was mostly intercepted, while world leaders have urged de-escalation.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel reserves “the right to protect itself” following the Iranian attack. Tehran says it was carried out in response to a suspected Israeli strike on its embassy compound in Damascus earlier this month that killed several members of the Revolutionary Guards, including two generals.

Israeli officials have not said when or where the country would retaliate, but Haghtalab warned that Iran would “definitely” reciprocate any attack on nuclear sites.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael Grossi, attends IAEA Board of Governors emergency meeting in Vienna, Austria on April 11, 2024. (Joe Klamar/AFP)

Israel is widely believed to have nuclear weapons, but has never admitted so.

On Monday, Grossi said Iran had closed its nuclear facilities “for security reasons” on the day of its attack on Israel.

Amirali Hajizadeh, commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace unit that led the attack on Israel, said on Thursday that Iran had only used “old weapons and minimal power” for it.

He argued Iran had “overcome the maximum capacity” of Israel and its allies “with minimal power.”

Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, right, and his deputy Masha Michelson pose next to an Iranian ballistic missile which was intercepted and fell into the Dead Sea days earlier, during a media tour at the Julis military base near the southern Israeli city of Kiryat Malachi on April 16, 2024. (Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP)

At the UN on Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned that Tehran would make Israel “regret” any attack on his country.

“Iran’s legitimate defense and counter measures have been concluded. Therefore, the terrorist Israeli regime must be compelled to stop any further military adventurism against our interests,” the minister told the UN Security Council during a meeting on the Middle East.

“In case of any use of force by the Israeli regime, and violating our sovereignty, the Islamic Republic of Iran will not hesitate a bit to assert its inherent rights, to give a decisive and proper response to it, to make the regime regret its actions.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian speaks during a UN Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East at UN headquarters in New York City on April 18, 2024 (ANGELA WEISS / AFP)

Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel overnight from Saturday into Sunday morning in its first direct attack on Israeli territory.

Israel and its allies shot down the vast majority of the drones and missiles and the attack caused only one injury, but concerns about a potential Israeli reprisal have nevertheless stoked fears of all-out regional war.

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