A leading Iranian political scholar has stated that the "knowledge and capability to build the atomic bomb is necessary" for its global standing, according to recent comments carried by the country’s state-controlled Persian language press.
Mahdi Taeb, a prominent mullah and political figure tied to the country’s hardline regime, said in recent comments that Iran must obtain the knowledge and technology necessary to build a nuclear weapon in order to boost the Islamic Republic’s global standing.
The comments come amid a standoff with the United States over new sanctions related to Iran’s ballistic missile program, which the Obama administration says violates United Nations Security Council resolutions.
"The Islamic Republic’s centrifuges are, in reality, getting power for this divine government," said Taeb, whose brother, Hossein, heads the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps intelligence branch.
"In this important path, we consider accessing the knowledge and capability to build the atomic bomb necessary, even though we call it haram," or prohibited, Taeb said, according to Persian language comments published by the Iranian Students’ News Agency that were translated and provided to the Washington Free Beacon. "We consider having the knowledge essential to gain power for the system, so we can assist the Imam of the Age [Mahdi]."
Taeb also lent his support to continued Iranian military action in Syria, where the country’s forces have been facing major casualties.
Saeed Ghasseminejad, an Iran expert at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said that Taeb’s comments reflect the Iranian regime "apocalyptic" roots.
"Many western analysts and politicians do not take this aspect of the regime seriously; they treat this apocalyptic vision as a rhetorical one which does not influence the policy-making process in Iran," Ghasseminejad said. "They fail to understand that the ‘God’ may be dead in the West, but in the Middle East it is very much alive ad politically active."
Iran’s theology is linked to the regime’s political decisions.
"They are rational actors, they just follow a different kind of reasoning," he said. "They want the nuclear bomb and will build the bomb sooner or later, and they very well may use it if it fits their apocalyptic mission."