In a televised presentation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Iran of moving nuclear weapons to a secret location. The US administration has indicated it plans to back out of the Iran nuclear deal.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented on Monday what he claimed was proof that Iran had broken the terms of the nuclear deal signed in 2015 with major world powers.
Netanyahu said he was prepared to share the “incriminating” files on Iran’s nuclear weapons program, “Project Amad.” He said Israel recently uncovered 55,000 documents and 183 CDs from Iran’s “nuclear archives.”
US President Donald Trump said he watched the presentation. Describing it as “good” Trump said the televised statement and other recent events showed that he, Trump, had been “100 percent right” about Iran.
Main points of the presentation
Speaking in English in the nationally televised address, the Israeli premier claimed:
- Israel had obtained “half a ton” of Iranian documents which proved Iran had a nuclear weapons program but had lied about it.
- Iran “continued to preserve and expand its nuclear weapons knowhow for future use.”
- After signing the nuclear deal in 2015, Iran “intensified its efforts to hide its secret files … moving them to a highly secret location in Tehran in 2017.”
- Iran “planned at the highest levels to continue building nuclear weapons.”
- Netanyahu had confidence that US President Donald Trump would “do the right thing” in reviewing the Iran nuclear deal.
European support for nuclear deal
Israel has repeatedly called for the 2015 nuclear deal to be altered or scrapped but the leaders of Germany, France and Britain have confirmed their support for it. The EU’s top diplomat Federica Mogherini issued a statement after the presentation saying the International Atomic Energy Agency “IAEA is the only impartial international organisation in charge of monitoring Iran’s nuclear commitments. If any country has information of non-compliance of any kind, should address this information to the proper legitimate and recognised mechanism.”
Iran has questioned the legitimacy of the demands for changes to the nuclear deal, saying it has respected the accord.
Both Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron were in Washington in the last week and both are believed to have raised the issue with President Trump.
On Monday, the German government said the IAEA must assess the Israeli information on Iran’s alleged nuclear activities immediately. A spokesman said Germany would analyse the information: “It is clear that the international community had doubts that Iran was carrying out an exclusively peaceful nuclear programme.”
“It was for this reason the nuclear accord was signed in 2015, including the implementation of an unprecedented, thorough and robust surveillance system by the IAEA,” the spokesman said.
In August last year, the UN nuclear watchdog gave Iran the all-clear on its stock of low-enriched uranium.
Iran has dismissed Israel’s allegations, suggesting they were timed to influence the upcoming US review of sanctions.
The 2015 Iran nuclear deal
In a political agreement signed in July 2015 by Iran with six world powers: the US, under previous President Barack Obama, Germany, China, France, Russia and Britain, Tehran agreed to limit its nuclear program in exchange for relief from nuclear-related US and international sanctions.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) lifted sanctions in exchange for verifiable curbs on Iran’s nuclear program for at least ten to 15 years. US Congressional deadlines require the US president to periodically review whether the US should continue to suspend sanctions, or re-impose them. The next deadline falls on May 12.
jm/rt (Reuters, AP)