Former Iranian Majles member Ali Motahari said in an April 24, 2022 interview on ISCA News (Iran) that when Iran began developing its nuclear program, the goal was to build a nuclear bomb. He said that there is no need to beat around the bush, and that the bomb would have been used as a "means of intimidation" in accordance with a Quranic verse about striking "fear in the hearts of the enemies of Allah."
He said that the nuclear bomb program would have been "a done deal" if Iran had kept it a secret until a nuclear test was conducted, like Pakistan did, and he explained that in such a case, Iran would have been "taken into consideration" by the world even more than it is today.
When asked if saying this publicly will negatively affect the ongoing JCPOA negotiations, Motahari answered: "Nobody notices what I am saying." He also said that he is speaking on his own behalf, and not in any official capacity. Later in the interview, Motahari said that some people rely on the Quranic verse about striking fear into the hearts of Allah's enemies to permit the construction of a nuclear bomb, but that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's current position is that it is forbidden to build a nuclear weapon.
Ali Motahari: "When we began our nuclear activity, our goal was indeed to build a bomb. There is no need to beat around the bush."
Interviewer: "You are saying that the goal was to build a bomb?"
Motahari: "Yes. 100%."
Interviewer: "Whose goal was it? Certain individuals or the entire regime?"
Motahari: "The entire regime, or at least, the people who started this activity. The goal was indeed, to build a bomb..."
Interviewer: "In order to use it?"
Motahari: "No, we wanted to build it as a means of intimidation."
Interviewer: "So just as a means of deterrence..."
Motahari: "The Quranic verse says: 'Strike fear in the hearts of the enemy of Allah.' It was a means of intimidation."
Interviewer: "So you are saying that this would have been a good thing."
Motahari: "With regard to what we started... If we could have kept it [a secret] until we performed a [nuclear] test, then it would have been a done deal. Like in Pakistan."
Interviewer: "Pakistan and North Korea have [nuclear bombs], but are they in a good situation?"
Motahari: "At the end of the day, they are taken into consideration."
Interviewer: "Iran is also being taken into consideration, even without a bomb."
Motahari: "This is for other reasons, but if we had a bomb, they would have taken us into consideration even more."
Interviewer: "So you are saying that all in all, if we had a bomb, it would not have been a bad thing, since we would not have used it."
Motahari: "It would not have been a bad thing. All I am saying is that since we started, we should have proceeded to the threshold."
Interviewer: "We haven't heard anyone officially saying the things you say. Don't these things affect the [JCPOA] talks and such things?"
Motahari: "Nobody notices what I am saying."
Interviewer: "But the foreigners will find it. It's not such a big effort."
Motahari: "I have no official capacity. I'm saying these things on behalf of myself."
Interviewer: "You said somewhere that according to Islamic jurisprudence, it is forbidden to use [nuclear bombs] but not to keep them."
Motahari: "There is justification for this. Some people rely on the Quranic verse 'Strike fear in the hearts of Allah's enemy.' This means that we should intimidate [the enemy] but not use the bomb. In this respect, they say that we can build a bomb. But the position of the Leader [Khamenei] right now..."
Interviewer: "Is that even building [a bomb] is forbidden."