Netanyahu’s Iran nuke claims fail to convince detractors - Taipei Times
Wed, May 02, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Netanyahu’s Iran nuke claims fail to convince detractors

AFP, JERUSALEM

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a news conference in Tel Aviv on Monday.

Photo: Reuters

Israel yesterday began sharing an intelligence trove on Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced accusations his televised unveiling lacked evidence a 2015 accord had been violated.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said it would evaluate any relevant information, but cited its assessment from three years ago that it had no “credible indications” of an Iranian nuclear weapons pursuit after 2009.

Netanyahu said tens of thousands of documents recovered by intelligence operatives in Tehran proved Iran had a secret nuclear weapons program it could put into action at any time.

However, the presentation immediately led to accusations from some that the White House and Netanyahu coordinated it, as Trump considers whether to pull out of the nuclear deal.

“I have not seen from Prime Minister Netanyahu arguments for the moment on non-compliance,” EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said.

Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said Netanyahu is an “infamous liar,” while Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed Javad Zarif said that he is “the boy who cries wolf.”

However, Trump welcomed the presentation, as did US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The White House caused some confusion with its statement on the Israeli trove, at first saying it showed Iran “has” a secret nuclear weapons program, before later changing it to “had.”

Netanyahu detailed an alleged program — “Project Amad” — that he said Iran was forced to shelve in 2003, but kept ready to put into action at any time while improving its “know-how.”

Pompeo called the trove authentic and said much of it was new to US experts.

However, others said it failed to show the nuclear accord was a “terrible deal,” with some saying his presentation instead furthered the case for the agreement.

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