Monday, April 30, 2018

Netanyahu: Iran 'Brazenly Lied' About Nuclear Program, Revelations Unlikely To Diminish Global Support For Nuclear Accord

Netanyahu: Iran 'brazenly lied' about nuclear program, continued work after deal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of lying about its nuclear program in a speech broadcast live Monday, revealing information he said showed the Islamic Republic had for years worked on developing nuclear weapons, and continued to pursue such weapons even after signing the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
The premier, who has repeatedly called for the accord between world powers and Iran to either be altered or scrapped, said Israel had obtained 100,000 secret Iranian files a few weeks ago in one the “greatest achievements” of Israeli intelligence.
Speaking in English at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu gave a presentation including videos and slides he said exposed Iran’s nuclear dossier.

“You may well know that Iran’s leaders repeatedly deny ever pursuing nuclear weapons,” he said, before playing clips of Iran’s supreme leader, president and foreign minister denying the country ever sought such capabilities.
“Iran lied. Big time,” said Netanyahu, adding that the trove included a half-ton of material.
The cache, he said, contained “incriminating documents, incriminating charts, incriminating presentations, incriminating blueprints, incriminating photos, incriminating videos and more.
“We’ve shared this material with the United States, and the United States can vouch for its authenticity,” he said of the information.

Netanyahu went onto detail the so-called Project Amad, which beginning in the early 1990s put Iran on a path to “design, produce and test… five warheads, each with a 10 kiloton TNT yield, for integration on a missile.”
“That is like five Hiroshima bombs to be put on ballistic missiles,” he said of the plan.
Netanyahu said Project Amad included five key elements — designing nuclear weapons, developing nuclear cores, building nuclear implosion systems, preparing nuclear tests, and integrating nuclear warheads on missiles.

“These files conclusively prove that Iran is brazenly lying when it says it never had a nuclear weapons program. The files prove that,” he said.
Amid growing pressure, Iran decided to shut down Project Amad in 2003, Netanyahu said, instead splitting its nuclear program into covert and overt tracks in order to avoid scrutiny.
“This is exactly what Iran continued to do,” said Netanyahu. “Iran planned at the highest levels to continue work related to nuclear weapons — under different guises and using the same personnel.
Earlier Monday, Netanyahu convened an unscheduled meeting of Israel’s decision-making security cabinet at the Defense Ministry HQ. Hadashot said he briefed ministers on the intelligence info.

Just in time for the 8 p.m. evening news, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday presented the nation — and the world — with an impressive achievement by Israel’s Mossad spy agency. Agents were able to obtain more than 100,000 files from Iran’s own archive filled with top-secret information about the regime’s past illicit nuclear weapons program.
Four hours earlier, his office heralded a statement on a “significant development regarding the nuclear agreement with Iran.” Netanyahu would deliver his speech at the Kirya, the Tel Aviv headquarter of Israel’s defense establishment, and not, as he usually does, at his Jerusalem office. His aides promised stunning revelations that would change the way the world looks at the Iran deal.
“Tonight, we’re going to show you something that the world has never seen before,” Netanyahu said at the beginning of his presentation. “Tonight, we are going to reveal new and conclusive proof of the secret nuclear weapons program that Iran has been hiding for years from the international community in its secret atomic archive.”

Citing original Iranian documents, Netanyahu showed that Iran lied about never having had a nuclear weapons program. He also presented evidence that Iran, even after the 2015 landmark deal with six world powers, is seeking to expand its nuclear knowhow for future use. But none of this surprised the experts.

According to the deal, Iran was obligated to come clean about its past but failed to do so, the prime minister showed. That is, strictly speaking, a violation of the deal. A grave violation, in Netanyahu’s view, but marginalized as a technicality by others. European officials, reacting to the speech, were unmoved. Unsurprisingly, so too was Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Either way, the five other countries that signed the deal with Iran in 2015 — France, Britain, Germany, China and Russia — will mostly likely remain unfazed by Netanyahu’s presentation.

“All of this obviously raises some questions regarding Iran’s credibility,” the European diplomat told The Times of Israel, minutes after the prime minister had concluded his remarks. “But we made the nuclear deal precisely because we don’t trust the Iranians, not because we considered them very trustworthy.”

Ilan Goldenberg, an expert on Iran at the Center for a New American Security, similarly argued that Iran’s past lies necessitated the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
“Of course Iran lied in the past about its nuclear program. That is precisely WHY we have the JCPOA which does not just take them at their word but puts in place one of the deepest, most intrusive inspections regime in history,” he tweeted.
But five of the six countries that negotiated and signed the agreement believed, and still believe, that its verification mechanism is sufficient to ensure Iran is unable to clandestinely break out and produce enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb, at least for the duration of the accord.
The US is indeed likely to pull out of the deal next month, reinstating nuclear-related sanctions on the Islamic Republic. The Europeans, the Russians and the Chinese have already said they would not follow suit. And the early signs are that Netanyahu’s remarks on Monday have done nothing to change their minds.

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