Iranian Intelligence Trove Reveals Tehran’s Continuing Drive for Nuclear Weapons, Netanyahu Declares
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday offered what he said was conclusive evidence that Iran’s regime had brazenly lied about not seeking nuclear weapons, warning at the same time that the 2015 nuclear deal leaves Tehran with “a clear path to an atomic arsenal.”
In a fifteen-minute presentation to Jerusalem-based journalists also broadcast online, Netanyahu unveiled a secret trove of Iranian intelligence recently captured by Israel after it was moved to an underground location in Tehran that, he said, laid bare the true goal of Iran leadership in pursuing the nuclear program.
“Iran’s leaders repeatedly deny ever pursuing nuclear weapons,” an animated Netanyahu announced. “Tonight I’m here to tell you one thing: Iran lied.”
The intelligence — captured on hundreds of printed documents as well as CDs that weighed “half a ton,” Netanyahu declared — has already been shared with the US government. At its heart are revelations about the continuation of “Project Amad” — a covert program that first ran from 1999 to 2003 with the purpose of designing, building a testing nuclear weapons, the Israeli leader said.
“Iran shelved Amad, but not its nuclear ambitions,” Netanyahu said. He pointed out that Dr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the present head of Iran’s secretive SPND — the “Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research” driving the weapons component of the nuclear program — had originally led “Project Amad.”
Netanyahu accused Iran of having lied to the IAEA, the international nuclear watchdog, in the preparation of a final report in December 2015 on the military aspects of the nuclear program. He charged that Iran had continued to carry out research and development in areas ostensibly prohibited by the nuclear deal, such as metallurgy and MPI technology.
After twice playing video of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif affirming that “we never wanted to produce a bomb,” Netanyahu retorted: “Yes you did. Yes you do.”
“The atomic archive proves it,” he continued, gesturing at the intelligence trove behind him.
As Donald Trump deliberates on whether, in May, he will certify the Iran nuclear deal for the third time during his term in office, Netanyahu expressed confidence that the president “will do the right thing for the US, for Israel, and for the peace of the world.”
One prominent Israeli military analyst said on Monday that Netanyahu’s presentation had broken “the false Iranian narrative of nuclear innocence.”
“Every time Foreign Minister Zarif stands up on a platform and says, ‘We never worked on a a nuclear weapons program,’ with the information that Netanyahu has provided, people can now see that’s a lie,” Dr. Emily Landau — head of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv — observed.
Speaking on a conference call organized by The Israel Project, Landau added that Netanyahu’s presentation had sent the “implicit message that Israel has access to inner workings inside Iran.”