The rebuke came after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson accused the Islamic Republic of trying to acquire a nuclear weapon while simultaneously defending his government’s plan to increase Britain’s stockpile of nuclear weapons.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Zarif censured UK’s hypocritical behavior and said Johnson is “concerned about Iran developing a viable nuclear weapon on the very same day he announces his country will increase its stockpile of nukes.”
The top Iranian diplomat added, “Unlike the UK and allies, Iran believes nukes and all WMDs are barbaric and must be eradicated,” in reference to weapons of mass destruction.
In utter hypocrisy, @BorisJohnson is “concerned about Iran developing a viable nuclear weapon”. On the very same day he announces his country will increase its stockpile of nukes.
Unlike the UK and allies, Iran believes nukes and all WMDs are barbaric & must be eradicated.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) March 16, 2021
Iran has time and again rejected as baseless the West’s claims that it is seeking a nuclear weapon.
Such allegations also run counter to numerous reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations nuclear watchdog, that have on numerous occasions verified peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.
The IAEA has carried out intense inspections of Iran’s nuclear sites over the past several years.
The UK currently has 180 nuclear warheads, down from 500 at the height of the Cold War in the late 1970s.
The British premier announced earlier on Tuesday that the country would increase its nuclear warhead stockpile by more than 40 percent to ensure its security in what he claimed more risky global environment and as it faces new technological threats.
London had previously been reducing its nuclear weapons stockpile, and in 2010, the government set a cap of 180 warheads for the mid-2020 period. Johnson scrapped the earlier limit and said the number would now rise to a maximum of 260.
The announcement prompted British campaigners to slam the UK government’s plan to increase the country’s nuclear weapons stockpile, which was described as a move that amounts to a violation of international law.
“While the UK cites increased security threats as justification for this move, the appropriate response to these challenges should be to work multilaterally to strengthen international arms control agreements and to reduce – not increase – the number of nuclear weapons in existence,” said Mary Robinson, head of The Elders, a group of former global policymakers who campaign for peace.
The planned increase also drew criticism from Labour leader Keir Starmer, who accused the Tory government of having a worldwide reputation for breaking international law.
Scottish National Party Defense spokesperson, Stewart McDonald, also censured the increase as nothing short of abhorrent.