A senior Iranian official said over the weekend that the Islamic Republic has the chemical and technical know-how to produce a nuclear weapon, according to Farsi language remarks independently translated for the Washington Free Beacon.
Ahmad Khatami, a senior member of Iran's Assembly of Experts, which enjoys close ties with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, claimed in recent comments that having a nuclear missile "is vital for Iran to confront the U.S. and its allies," according to Farsi language comments made over the weekend.
"Having missile[s] and nuclear authority is vital for Iran to confront the U.S. and its allies." Khatami was quoted as saying in remarks in which he also referred to the United States as a thug.
The comments come on the heels of threats issued by Khamenei to senior Trump administration figures, including Donald Trump himself, National Security Adviser John Bolton, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Regional experts who spoke to the Free Beacon about the threats said U.S. intelligence agencies must take them seriously, and should launch an investigation into scores of potential agents tied to the Iranian regime, including those known to operate on U.S. soil.
Khatami, in his comments, claimed Iran has no interest in building a nuclear weapon, but that it possesses the know-how and ability to do so.
"Iran never has had the intention to build a nuclear bomb. Iran has the formula but does not want to use the weapons of mass destruction, but it is vital for Iran to have nuclear energy," he said.
Meanwhile, Iran continues to manufacture and test advanced ballistic missile technology capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
The country has conducted multiple space launches that U.S. officials view as cover for the testing of advanced missile technology known as intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs.
Iran marked the 40th anniversary of its Islamic revolution on Monday with chants of, "Death to America" and other slogans calling for the destruction of the United States and its allies.
During remarks commemorating the occasion, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the country would not compromise on its increasingly provocative missile tests.
"We have not asked and will not ask for permission to develop different types of … missiles and will continue our path and our military power," Rouhani said in Tehran, according to media reports.
Ahmad Eshghyar, a founding member of the Iran Revival group which seeks non-violent overthrow of the Islamic Republic said: "Ahmad Khatami’s Freudian slip that the Iranian regime has the technical capability to produce nuclear warhead, while declaring missiles as an integral part of regime’s military strategy comes after years of denial of military nature of the nuclear program. The last thing the world wants to see is a nuclear Middle East."