Israel had broken into a top-secret Iranian installation and recovered thousands of documents showing that Iran had “brazenly lied” and remains committed to a clandestine nuclear weapons program despite the 2015 nuclear deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a press conference Monday.
Hailing the recovery of Iran’s “atomic archive” as one of Israeli intelligence’s “greatest achievements,” Netanyahu said that the 100,000 files showed that when Iranian leaders claimed that they never sought a nuclear weapons, they “lied. Big time,” The Times of Israel reported.
The files, both paper and CDs, which he said Israel had taken possession of several weeks ago, contained, “incriminating documents, incriminating charts, incriminating presentations, incriminating blueprints, incriminating photos, incriminating videos and more.” Furthermore Israel has shared the intelligence trove with the United States and “the United States can vouch for its authenticity,” Netanyahu said.
The nuclear project that Iran pursued was called Project Amad and began in the early 1990s. It had a goal to ““design, produce and test… five warheads, each with a 10 kiloton TNT yield, for integration on a missile.”
The five principle goals of the program were “designing nuclear weapons, developing nuclear cores, building nuclear implosion systems, preparing nuclear tests and integrating nuclear warheads on missiles.”
After 2003, Iran officially shut down Project Amad but carried on its work secretly using the same personnel.
The files, Netanyahu said, demonstrated four things about Iran’s nuclear weapons program:
“What I’ve shown you tonight is just a fraction of the total material that we have. But even from this fraction you can draw four main conclusions. First, Iran lied about never having a nuclear weapons program,” said Netanyahu.
Second, “Even after the deal, Iran continued to preserve and expand its nuclear know how for future use.” Third, “Iran lied again in 2015 when it didn’t come clean to the IAEA as required by the nuclear deal.”
And fourth, he said, “The nuclear deal is based on lies. It is based on Iranian lies and Iranian deception… 100,000 files right here prove that they lied.”
In fact The New York Times reported in December 2015, that in the final International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report prior to implementation of the nuclear deal, that Iran failed “to cooperate on central points” to establish that it had never pursued a nuclear weapon. In fact the IAEA report showed that Iran had been “exploring the the technologies, testing, and components that would be needed to produce a weapon someday.”
In addition to failing to hold Iran accountable for pursuing a nuclear weapon in the past, the deal also gave Iran a “clear path” to industrial strength uranium enrichment to support a nuclear weapons program and failed to constrain Iran’s ballistic missile development.
“This is a terrible deal. It should never have been concluded,” he said.
Netanyahu expressed confidence that with the May 12 for the Trump administration’s decision to whether to fix or withdraw from the deal looming that President Donald Trump would “do the right thing.”
Following Netanyahu’s press conference, The Israel Project hosted a conference call with Emily Landau, Senior Research Fellow and head of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at the Institute for National Security Studies. During the call Landau explained that if Iran had chosen to come clean about its nuclear program it would have done what Libya did, when it dismantled its chemical and nuclear weapons program. Libya made its research available to the American scientists who were allowed to assess how far Libya had gone in developing weapons of mass destruction. It did not keep its materials under lock and key in order to have the option to reconstitute the program at a time of its choosing like Iran had done.
Moreover, according to Landau Netanyahu’s press conference was valuable for contradicting Iran’s “narrative of nuclear innocence.” Landau had previously made similar observations in a 2015 op-ed for The Tower. A complete recording of the conference call is embedded below.
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