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May 2, 2018 11:54 am

Ex-Weapons Inspectors: Israel’s Iran Info Does Contain New Revelations

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presents thousands of documents on the Iranian nuclear program, April 30, 2018. Photo: Amos Ben Gershom / GPO.

Two former weapons inspectors have challenged the narrative adopted by defenders of the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, saying that the trove of intelligence information revealed on Monday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did indeed contain important new revelations about Iran’s nuclear program.

“Certainly if this is what they say it is, this is quite a jackpot,” Olli Heinonen, now a senior adviser on science and nonproliferation at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank, told NPR.

In a televised address delivered in English on Monday, Netanyahu unveiled thousands of documents, both paper and digital, relating to Iran’s nuclear efforts acquired by Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency.

The documents revealed that Iran has consistently lied in its claims that it was not pursuing nuclear weapons. They also provided extensive details on the country’s nuclear program. The US has vouched for the authenticity of the documents.

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Defenders of former President Barack Obama’s deal with Iran stated that the information was already known to the relevant authorities and contained no new revelations.

Heinonen said this was not true, noting that while he was aware of some of the information Netanyahu presented, there was additional material that had not been previously revealed.

“There were some pictures that were quite familiar to me,” he said. “But at the same time, there was also new information.”

He added that the evidence also showed Iranian hardware of which the authorities were previously unaware, raising serious questions.

“They must have manufactured pieces of equipment in Iran,” he said. “Where are those pieces? Who is keeping them?”

This statement was echoed by former UN weapons inspector David Albright. In the 1990s, Albright worked specifically on the issue of Iran’s nuclear program.

While everyone knew Iran was lying about its nuclear ambitions, he said, the documents obtained by Israel provided extensive new details.

“Here we have a jigsaw puzzle with 30 to 40 percent of the pieces [turned into] one that has 99 percent of the pieces. The picture is clear,” Albright told NPR.

Albright, now the head of the Institute for Science and International Security think tank, said that the documents could also reveal previously unknown locations used for nuclear-related work, and the IAEA may push to inspect them.

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