In a prime-time address on Israeli TV, Netanyahu accused Iran of “brazenly lying” to the international community about continuing a secret nuclear weapons program.
He said Israeli intelligence had unearthed a trove of more than 100,000 documents a few weeks ago — including 55,000 pages, and 55,000 files on 183 CDs — in massive vaults inside an “innocent-looking compound” in Tehran’s Shorabad District.
He claims they had been hidden by Iran in 2017 after the nuclear deal — signed by Iran, the US, France, Russia, Germany, China, the UK and the European Union — came into effect.
“You may well know that Iran’s leaders repeatedly denied ever pursuing nuclear weapons… well tonight I’m here to tell you one thing – Iran lied, big time,” Netanyahu said in English before later switching to Hebrew.
“Iran planned at the highest level to continue work related to nuclear weapons under different guises and using the same personnel.”
It plays into Donald Trump’s hands, as he continues to publicly question the “horrible” deal in the lead up to the May 12 deadline when he must decide whether sanctions should be imposed.
“In seven years, that deal will have expired and Iran is free to go ahead and create nuclear weapons. That is not acceptable. Seven years is tomorrow,” Trump said.
However, the timing of Netanyahu’s discovery has raised eyebrows, and many experts have said the most damning evidence was that Iran had not fully disclosed the details of its past nuclear programs to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
“Pres. Trump is jumping on a rehash of old allegations already dealt with by the IAEA to ‘nix’ the deal. How convenient. Coordinated timing of alleged intelligence revelations by the boy who cries wolf just days before May 12. But Trump’s impetuousness to celebrate blew the cover,” tweeted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Pres. Trump is jumping on a rehash of old allegations already dealt with by the IAEA to “nix” the deal. How convenient. Coordinated timing of alleged intelligence revelations by the boy who cries wolf just days before May 12. But Trump’s impetuousness to celebrate blew the cover. https://t.co/5gxmmZcrF7
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) April 30, 2018
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi labelled it a “childish” and “laughable” spectacle.
“What we saw from Netanyahu was a childish play which we had also witnessed in previous years and also from the MKO terrorist group,” Araghchi said.
Even Eran Etzion, former deputy Israeli national security adviser who is now in charge of the Israeli-European think-tank Forum of Strategic Dialogue, said on Twitter: “No ‘smoking gun’ was revealed this evening, nor was it proven that Iran is today developing nuclear weaponry or violating the (nuclear deal) in any other way.”