On April 24, former Iranian Majles member Ali Motahari revealed that the Middle Eastern country's desire to build a nuclear bomb from day one was the regime's reason for developing its nuclear program.
"When we began our nuclear activity, our goal was indeed to build a bomb," Motahari stated on Iran's ISCA News. "[In accordance with] the Quranic verse [to] 'strike fear in the hearts and enemy of Allah,' [the nuclear bomb] was a means of intimidation." He went on to say "[the bomb] would not have been a bad thing."
When Motahari was asked by the interviewee if his statements would negatively affect the ongoing Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) negotiations, he answered: "Nobody notices what I am saying." He finished the interview, stating that the country's current position of building a nuclear weapon is forbidden by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Clare Lopez is founder and president of Lopez Liberty LLC and a former career operations officer with the CIA. Lopez argues the Motahari interview simply provides the "evidence that Iran has been driving for nuclear weapons capability" for a very long time. And considering that ISCA News is a state media outlet, she suggests "it's pretty hard to see how Motahari could have made such a statement without, at a minimum, the acquiescence – if not the permission – of the regime."
Lopez adds: "It's hard to believe this wasn't some kind of message from the Iranian regime."
That being the case, she finds it hard to believe the Biden administration hasn't "caved to the demand" to remove the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list during the course of the nuclear talks in Vienna – which Lopez says would be a grave mistake as well as "capitulation" to Iran's demands.
But the former CIA officer argues it's unlikely Iran will return to the nuclear talks unless that happens.
"So," Lopez surmises, "were Motahari's statements part of some kind of a pressure move from the regime? [Was Motahari suggesting that] if you don't acquiesce to everything we demand, Well, by the way, we're working on a bomb?" she questions.
"That's my guess why this statement was allowed to be made," she concludes. "It's pretty clear that Iran has been working on a nuclear weapon for many, many years" – and by her estimation, nothing seems to be halting Iran's quest to build a nuclear weapons program to the point where one day it could deploy bombs.