Have new 'proof' of Iran's secret nuclear weapons program: Netanyahu
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said in a televised address today he had new "proof" of an Iranian nuclear weapons plan that could be activated at any time, as US considers whether to pull out of atomic accord with Tehran. But while accusing Iran, Netanyahu didn't provide evidence that Israel actively worked to obtain an atomic weapon since 2015 agreement between Tehran and six world-powers.
Netanyahu made the comments in an elaborate presentation that included props, video, and slides broadcast live on television from Tel Aviv. He said Israel had obtained tens of thousands of files "a few weeks ago in a great intelligence achievement," saying they had been moved to a secret compound in Tehran in 2017 that looked dilapidated from the outside.
As he spoke, binders that he said held copies of original documents were on shelves behind him, as were cases containing CDs. "Tonight we're going to reveal new and conclusive proof of the secret nuclear weapons program that Iran has been hiding for years from the international community in its secret atomic archive. We're going to show you Iran's secret nuclear files," Netanyahu said.
US President Donald Trump has a May 12 deadline to decide on whether to walk away from the nuclear deal, which he derided as "insane" partly because its restrictions on Iran's nuclear activities begin expiring in 2025. Most world powers, however, say the nuclear deal is working as intended for now and is the best way to keep Iran from acquiring the bomb.
The Israeli premier has repeatedly called for the accord, which Iran signed with Britain, France, China, Russia, the United States, and Germany, to either be altered or scrapped. He says the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement does not prevent Tehran from eventually obtaining nuclear weapons and says the lifting of sanctions has increased Tehran's ability to finance proxy militants in the Middle East.
Netanyahu also wants to see curbs on Iran's missile program. His presentation came after he met visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday and spoke with Trump by phone on Saturday. Pompeo reiterated during the visit that Trump will withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran "if we can't fix it". He also joined Netanyahu in lashing out at Iran.
Rob Malley, a former official in President Barack Obama's administration, said on Twitter that "for those who have followed the Iranian nuclear file, there is nothing new in (Netanyahu's) presentation". "All it does is vindicate need for the nuclear deal. But the Israeli Prime Minister has an audience of one: Trump. And he's unfortunately unlikely to reach the same conclusion," he stated.