In a speech in Tel Aviv on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that Israeli intelligence had acquired tens of thousands of files, which, he said, proved that Iran had lied about its nuclear weapons program.
The files also reportedly prove that Iran has been secretly continuing its program under the nose of international inspectors.
Netanyahu said that "100,000 files right here prove that they lied" and that “the nuclear deal gives Iran a clear path to an atomic arsenal.”
What did Netanyahu say?
Netanyahu said the files that Israeli intelligence had obtained came from a storage facility for the files on the nuclear weapons program in the Shorabad district in southern Tehran. The Israelis managed to get 55,000 pages of documents and another 55,000 files on 183 CDs. The originals are now in a “very safe place,” Netanyahu assured anyone watching.
These files, he said, were full of "incriminating documents, incriminating charts, incriminating presentations, incriminating blueprints, incriminating photos, incriminating videos, and more." He went through a sampling of these files, pointing out pictures and blueprints showing plans for the development of nuclear weapons.
He also pointed to Project Amad, a weapons program that Iran reportedly shelved in 2003, but which he said he now has proof continued with the same personnel and research under the name SPND. He said:
We’ve known for years that Iran had a secret nuclear weapons program called Project Amad. We can now prove that Project Amad was a comprehensive program to design, build, and test nuclear weapons. We can also prove that Iran is secretly storing Project Amad material to use at a time of its choice to develop nuclear weapons.
Netanyahu pointed to Iranian documents, written in Farsi, which he said describe plans for Project Amad to build five nuclear weapons with a yield of 10 kilotons each. "That's like 5 Hiroshima bombs to be put on ballistic missiles," he explained.
“That’s like 5 Hiroshima bombs to be put on ballistic missiles,” Netanyahu says of secret files showing Iran’s nuclear weapons intentions, which he says have been verified by the U.S. #tictocnews pic.twitter.com/m2CSDacDM0
— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) April 30, 2018
Netanyahu concluded by saying that the files proved four things:
- Iran lied about never having a nuclear weapons program.
- Even after the deal, Iran continued to preserve and expand its nuclear weapons for future use.
- Iran lied again in 2015 when it didn't come clean to the IAEA as required by the nuclear deal.
- The nuclear deal is based on lies.
The speech came a day after Netanyahu met with newly sworn-in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. After the meeting, Pompeo said that he was concerned by Iran's “destabilizing and malign activities.”
Pompeo added that the United States remains “deeply concerned about Iran’s dangerous escalation of threats towards Israel and the region. Iran has only behaved worse since the deal was approved."
Netanyahu has never liked the nuclear deal
Netanyahu has been a critic of the nuclear deal since it was first signed by President Barack Obama, calling it “a bad mistake” and a “sure path to nuclear weapons.” In 2015, he was mocked by the Obama White House for drawing a red line on a picture of a bomb at the United Nations meeting to illustrate how close he believed Iran was to developing nuclear weapons.
Netanyau has praised President Donald Trump for saying that the United States might end the deal. Trump has until May 12 to re-certify the Iran deal. If Trump refuses to re-certify the deal, then U.S. sanctions on Iran will go back into place.
What is Iran saying?
After Netanyahu's office announced the topic for his speech, Iran's Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, mocked the Israeli Prime Minister on Twitter, saying "[t]he boy who can't stop crying wolf is at it again."
Zarif has also called Trump's proposed changes to the deal "unacceptable."
According to reports from the Iranian State News Agency, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said that the nuclear deal might fall apart even if Trump renews it because it was not fair for Iran.
"The status quo of the deal is simply not sustainable for us, whether or not the Americans get out of the deal," Araghchi reportedly said.
In a phone call Sunday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told French President Emmanuel Macron that Trump had already “violated” the nuclear deal by “criticizing” it. Rouhani claimed that the criticism created “fear and ambiguity” and hurt Iran's economy.
What is the Iran nuclear deal?
In 2015, the Obama administration signed a deal with the government of Iran. Under the rules of the deal, Iran would reduce its stockpile of uranium and stop working on building a nuclear bomb, and in return the U.S. would lift decades-old sanctions on Iran.
Trump has repeatedly criticized the deal. On April 24, during a news conference with Macron, Trump said that the deal was “insane. Ridiculous. It should have never been made.”