Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said on Monday that following the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal, the scope of Iran’s nuclear program was reduced but its quality increased. The program, he said, was now operating at “full force.”

In an interview with Iran’s Channel 2, Alavi said that the country’s nuclear program was peaceful in nature, noting that according to a religious ruling by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the development of nuclear weapons is forbidden. However, he added, Iran might be forced to “change its behavior.”

“On the very day that we decided, in keeping with the leader’s orders, to begin [enriching uranium] to 20 percent, we did it,” said Alavi.

“Our nuclear capabilities remain intact, and our nuclear industry operates at full force. Our research and development has brought the IR-6 [centrifuges] to production and made them operational. Each IR-6 centrifuge does the work of ten old [IR-1] centrifuges. It requires less space but has higher output,” he added.

“The leader said explicitly in his fatwa [Islamic religious ruling] that producing nuclear weapons contradicts [Islamic law] and that the Islamic Republic does not pursue this and considers this forbidden. However, when you push a cat to the corner, it might behave differently from a free cat. If Iran is pushed in that direction, it would not be Iran’s fault, but the fault of those who pushed it. Under normal circumstances, Iran has no such plans or intentions,” he said.

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