Iran’s head of the Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Eslami, stated on Wednesday that Israeli Minister of Heritage Amihai Eliyahu’s comment regarding the possibility of conducting a nuclear strike on the Gaza Strip implies an acknowledgment that Israel possesses nuclear weapons.
“Once again, an official of the Zionist regime has admitted to possessing nuclear weapons, and more importantly, by threatening the oppressed and innocent people of Gaza, he questioned the most basic principles of international law and the UN Charter,” Eslami said as cited by state news agency IRNA.
He added that while some countries have denounced the Israeli minister’s remarks, it was “high time international organizations, especially the United Nations, broker their silence and took firm actions in the face of such audacity.” Eslami considered the Israeli comments to be a “grave threat” to international peace and security.
Eslami called on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its director general, Rafael Grossi to “announce the consequences of the threat of using nuclear weapons by this fake regime to the United Nations Security Council in addition to condemning these destructive threats which are contrary to the principles and goals of the UN Charter.”
The Israeli minister, when asked in an interview about a hypothetical option of dropping a nuclear bomb on the Gaza Strip, said: “That’s one way.”
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suspended Eliyahu from cabinet meetings “until further notice”. Netanyahu’s office issued a statement: “Minister Amihai Eliyahu’s statements are not based in reality. Israel and the IDF are operating in accordance with the highest standards of international law to avoid harming innocents. We will continue to do so until our victory.”
Iran and Israel have been engaged in a long-standing and contentious exchange of accusations regarding their respective nuclear programs. Iran’s nuclear ambitions have been a subject of international concern, with accusations that it may be pursuing nuclear weapons capability, despite its claims of peaceful intentions. Israel, on the other hand, is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons but maintains a policy of nuclear ambiguity, neither confirming nor denying its nuclear arsenal.
Israel has frequently voiced concerns over Iran’s nuclear activities, asserting that Tehran poses a significant threat to regional stability. In response, Iran has accused Tel Aviv of hypocrisy, arguing that Israel’s own nuclear capabilities are a destabilizing factor.