In a live broadcast Monday from Israel’s defense ministry in Tel Aviv, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented evidence from 10 “secret nuclear files” recently obtained by Israeli intelligence that “prove” Iran lied “big time” about its nuclear weapons program.
“The Iran nuclear deal is based on lies. It’s based on Iranian lies and Iranian deception,” he declared.
Netanyahu said Iran “continues to lie,” noting that just last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, “We never wanted to produce a bomb.”
“Yes, you did. Yes, you do. And the atomic archive proves it,” Netanyahu said.
The Israeli leader concluded the nuclear deal “gives Iran a clear path to an atomic arsenal.”
The Joint Plan of Action agreement signed in 2015 by the United States, under President Obama, and five other nations, Netanyahu said, allows Tehran to continue enriching uranium and fails to address its development of ballistic missiles and the newly revealed secret bomb program.
He noted President Trump will make a decision by May 12 regarding whether to resume sanctions against Iran that were removed as part of deal.
“This is a terrible deal. It should never have been concluded,” Netanyahu said.
“I’m sure he’ll do the right thing,” he said of Trump. “The right thing for the United States. The right thing for Israel and the right thing for the peace of the world.”
In the Rose Garden after Netanyahu’s presentation, President Trump said that while he thinks the “horrible agreement” with Iran is unacceptable, he is open to negotiating a new deal.
Asked if he thinks pulling out of the Iran deal would sent the wrong message to North Korea as Pyongyang engages in nuclear talks with the U.S., Trump said it does just the opposite.
“I think it sends the right message,” he said. “You know, in seven years that deal will have expired and Iran is free to go ahead and create nuclear weapons. That’s not acceptable. Seven years is tomorrow.”
Netanyahu’s revelation follows Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Israel on Sunday and a telephone conversation with Trump on Saturday.
Pompeo has stated the U.S. will withdraw from the Iran agreement “if we can’t fix it.”
Meanwhile, Israeli defense officials have told their American and Russian counterparts that if Iranian-backed forces attack Israel from Syria, Israel will retaliate with direct strikes against Tehran or other targets in Iran, the Washington Times reported.
The Syrian Army said Monday “enemy” rocket attacks struck military bases in Syria, the Jerusalem Post reported. An opposition source said one of the targets was a recruitment center for Iranian-backed Shiite militias who support Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime.
The files from Iran’s nuclear archives obtained “a few weeks ago” by Israeli intelligence, Netanyahu said, “conclusively prove that Iran is brazenly lying when it says it never had a nuclear weapons program.”
Called Project Amad, Iran was forced to shelve the program in 2003 after pressure was put on the regime in the wake of the Gulf War.
“But it didn’t shelve its nuclear ambitions,” he said, so Iran devised a plan to preserve its nuclear know-how and to “future develop its nuclear-weapons-related capabilities.”
“That plan came directly from Iran’s top leadership,” Netanyahu said.
The mullah-led regime, he emphasized, “intensified its efforts to hide its nuclear files” after signing the agreement in 2015.
In 2017, it moved the nuclear files to a “highly secret location” in Tehran, Netanyahu said.
“We can now prove that Project Ahmad was a comprehensive program to design, produce and test nuclear weapons,” said the prime minister.
Iran is secretly storing the files, Netanyahu said, “to use at a time of its choice to develop nuclear weapons.”
He pointed to a document in the Iranian archive with a directive from the head of Project Amad, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who is quoted saying, “The general aim is to announce the closure of Project Amad.”
However, Fakhrizadeh continued, “special activities will be carried out under the title of scientific knowhow development.”
When Netanyahu read the words “special activities,” he commented, “You know what that is,” implying it meant nuclear-weapons development.
That weapons development, the Israeli leader, said is being carried out at the moment by a special unit within Iran’s defense ministry, SPND, led by Fakhrzadeh himself.
Project Amad, he said, contains the five key components necessary to carry out a nuclear weapons program: designing nuclear weapons, developing nuclear cores, building nuclear implosion systems, preparing nuclear tests and integrating nuclear warheads on missiles.
Israel obtained 55,000 pages of records and another 55,000 files on 183 CDs, said Netanyahu, that included documents showing Iran is developing ballistic missiles capable of holding five warheads that each have the capacity of a Hiroshima-sized bomb.
See Netanyahu’s presentation:
The “incriminating” documents, photos and videos, he said, have been shared with the U.S., which had verified their authenticity.
Already, he said, Iran has ballistic missiles with a range of 1,200 miles, capable of reaching Riyadh, Tel Aviv and Moscow, “but they are working on far, far greater ranges.”
Trump and Netanyahu have said any agreement with Iran must address Iran’s support for jihadists in the region and its development of long-range ballistic missiles.
See Trump’s response:
The two leaders also want to eliminate provisions in the current agreement that expire over the next decade.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Monday on his website that the time when Iran’s enemies can “hit and run” is over.
“They know if they enter military conflict with Iran, they will be hit multiple times,” he said.