Israel's Netanyahu Claims 'Proof' Iran Sought Nuclear Weapons
RFE/RL April 30, 2018
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his country has obtained copies of tens of thousands of files purportedly containing "incriminating" information about Iran's nuclear program, including evidence that Tehran was seeking to acquire nuclear weapons.
In a press conference in Tel Aviv on April 30, Netanyahu said that, after signing an agreement with international powers that curbed its nuclear program in 2015, Tehran hid the archives of its nuclear program, including information about a plan to develop the equivalent of "five Hiroshima bombs to be put on ballistic missiles."
"Iran planned at the highest level to continue building nuclear weapons," Netanyhu said.
Iran has always said its nuclear program was entirely peaceful and has denied seeking nuclear weapons.
Netanyahu said the 2015 nuclear deal was "based on lies."
In all, Netanyahu said Israel has obtained "exact copies" of some 55,000 files from the purported Iranian archive.
He also showed a video that he said showed a previously unknown Iranian nuclear facility.
Iran's state IRNA news agency said Netanyahu was "famous for his ridiculous shows," while the semiofficial Fars agency called the press conference "a propaganda show."
Before the presentation, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called Netanyahu "the boy who can't stop crying wolf."
Netanyahu also said that Israel has shared its information with the United States.
U.S President Donald Trump has criticized the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which was negotiated under his predecessor, Barack Obama.
He has called for the deal to be renegotiated or scrapped and has said he is considering withdrawing from it.
At his Tel Aviv press conference, Netanyahu said he is certain Trump will do "the right thing" regarding the nuclear deal.
Netanyahu met on April 29 with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss Iran and the nuclear deal.
After the talks, Pompeo said Trump had "a comprehensive Iran plan that is designed to counter the full array of threats emanating from Tehran."
He added that the United States was "deeply concerned about Iran's dangerous escalation of threats to Israel and the region."
Rob Malley, a former official in the Obama administration, posted on Twitter that "for those who have followed the Iranian nuclear file, there is nothing new" in Netanyahu's presentation.
"All it does is vindicate the need for the  nuclear deal," Malley added. "But the Israeli prime minister has an audience of one: Trump."
With reporting by Reuters, AP, and dpa
Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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