update deskIsrael at War

Iran threatens to review nuclear doctrine

A suspected IRGC spy vessel is expected to dock at an Iranian port, having exited the Red Sea.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tours an exhibition in Tehran on Iran's nuclear industry, June 11, 2023. Source: X.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tours an exhibition in Tehran on Iran's nuclear industry, June 11, 2023. Source: X.

The Islamic Republic threatened to reconsider its official nuclear doctrine on Thursday amid Israeli threats to retaliate against the Islamic Republic for its unprecedented direct missile and drone attack on the Jewish state.

“A review of our nuclear doctrine and politics as well as considerations previously communicated is entirely possible,” said Maj. Gen. Ahmad Haghtalab, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander responsible for safeguarding Iran’s nuclear sites, Reuters reported.

Threats “against Iran’s nuclear facilities make it possible to revise and deviate from the declared nuclear policies and considerations,” he added, according to the semi-official Tasnim News Agency.

“Our hands are on the trigger,” threatened Haghtalab, saying that the IRGC has identified Israel’s nuclear facilities.

Until now, Iran has maintained that its nuclear program is strictly peaceful while it has continued to ramp up its uranium enrichment. In recent years, the regime has claimed that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa religious edict outlawing weapons of mass destruction.

Western powers say there is no credible civilian explanation for Tehran’s nuclear activities. In 2022, the International Atomic Energy Agency issued a report saying it could not “provide assurances that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.”

Overnight Saturday, Iran launched more than 500 missiles and drones at Israel. The IDF said it and its military allies intercepted some 99% of the projectiles; none of the 170 drones entered Israel’s airspace.

Israel might strike back in the coming days, U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal on Monday. Jerusalem’s War Cabinet reportedly discussed several possible military responses, with each of them designed to inflict pain on the regime while avoiding all-out war.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that a suspected IRGC spy vessel linked to Houthi attacks in the Red Sea is expected to dock at an Iranian port on Thursday, removing a prominent asset in the area.

The M/V Behshad, which Iran calls an “intelligence and logistics” ship, left its position near the coast of Yemen two weeks ago and will soon arrive at Bandar Abbas port in the Persian Gulf, the report said.

The vessel had been deployed in the Red Sea since 2021 when it replaced a previous reconnaissance vessel called the M/V Saviz.

Earlier this year, an analysis by NBC News and maritime experts indicated that the Behshad was within several miles as Iran-backed Houthi rebels attacked commercial ships in recent months.

Since mid-November, the Houthis have carried out several drone and missile attacks on ships, in addition to numerous acts of piracy against commercial and military vessels.

Yahya Saree, a “military” spokesperson for the Houthis, threatened on Dec. 9 that the U.S.-designated terrorist group would “prevent the passage of ships heading to the Zionist entity of any nationality.”

In December, the United States launched a multinational force to counter the maritime threat posed by the Houthis, who have repeatedly targeted vessels passing through the crucial Bab el-Mandeb strait that connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. The Israeli Navy also bolstered its presence in the Red Sea.

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