On April 30th, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu showed what he claimed was ‘conclusive proof’ of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program. The documents, which have yet to be independently verified, detail what the Prime Minister called ‘Project Amad’. The documents showed, among other things, the blueprints for a nuclear warhead.
Netanyahu said that Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, in what he described as a great achievement, obtained half a ton worth of documents and CDs from a secret archive in Iran.
The documents also show that the nuclear program was shut down in 2003, and the Prime Minister did not show any evidence of violations of the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal.
Iran fires back
On May 1st, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Bahram Qassemi, lashed out at the Israeli Prime Minister’s Monday speech, calling it ‘propagandistic’. In his statement, Qassemi described Netanyahu’s claims as worn-out, useless and shameful. He added that such remarks are futile efforts by a “broke and infamous liar who has had nothing to offer except lies and deceits.”
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said the move by Netanyahu was a stunt to influence President Trump’s decision on whether the US should stick with the nuclear deal.
US President Donald Trump said in a press conference that the speech “showed that I was 100% right” in criticizing the Iran nuclear deal.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the documents were proof “beyond any doubt” that “the Iranian regime was not telling the truth”.
Meanwhile, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said the documents have not put into question Iran’s compliance with the 2015 deal and said they should be analysed by the IAEA.
Olli Heinonen, former Deputy Director-General for Safeguards at the International Atomic Energy Agency told the Guardian newspaper his department had seen some of the documentation presented by the Israeli prime minister as early as 2005. He told the newspaper his department had come to the conclusion that evidence of Project Amad was credible, but that substantial work on it had ceased in 2003.
UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Mr Netanyahu’s speech “underlines the importance of keeping the Iran nuclear deal’s constraints on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.”
Rob Malley, a member of the Obama administration’s negotiating team tweeted on April 30th, saying: “For those who have followed the Iranian nuclear file, there is nothing new in Bibi’s presentation. All it does is vindicate need for the nuclear deal. But the Israeli prime minister has an audience of one: Trump. And he’s unfortunately unlikely to reach the same conclusion.”