As the world seeks to defuse tensions between the US and Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reappeared with fresh and controversial claims of “secret” Iranian nuclear activity, and he had visual materials to help.
In a brief press conference on Monday, Netanyahu claimed that Israel has discovered a secret Iranian “nuclear weapons development site” at Abadeh, south of the city of Isfahan. The Iranians “destroyed” the site, however, upon learning that Israel knew about it, Netanyahu said.
Using dramatic visual aids to back up his story – a penchant that has inspired mocking and memes – Netanyahu said it was “incredible” that “every time” Israel reveals information about Iran’s alleged nuclear activities, Tehran suddenly moves to “cover up their tracks.”
He showed pictures of what he claimed was the Abadeh site “before” and “after” Iran realized Israel was on to them – and said the Abadeh site was uncovered from a super-secret nuclear archive previously exposed by Israel.
Israel has exposed another Iranian violation of their international commitments: the Abadeh Nuclear Weapons Development Site. We have proof that #Iran conducted experiments to develop nuclear weapons there, and that they destroyed the site when they realized we discovered it. pic.twitter.com/9wyhu45qJl
— Elad Strohmayer (@EladStr) September 9, 2019
Last year, Netanyahu made a splash with a showy press conference – during which he stood in front of a bookcase filled with the allegedly top-secret Iranian files – and claimed the 2015 JCPOA Iran nuclear deal was “based on lies.”
In fact, both the UN and international nuclear watchdog the IAEA said Tehran had abided by the terms of the deal, struck after years of intense negotiations. Iran’s foreign ministry promptly branded Netanyahu an “infamous liar” who leads a “child-killing Zionist regime” after those claims.
The timing of Netanyahu’s 2018 PowerPoint press conference was questionable, as it was delivered on the day US President Donald Trump was expected to decide whether or not the US would remain a party to the 2015 JCPOA deal, which he ultimately decided against.
Iran has since scaled back its own commitments in the deal and has begun lifting limitations on its research and development in response to the US’s abandonment of the international agreement – a move opposed by Washington’s allies in Europe, much to the Trump administration’s disappointment.
Netanyahu made more claims about Iran’s nuclear activity a few months later, alleging that the country was operating a “secret atomic warehouse” in Turquzubad, Tehran Province, that contained up to 300 tons of “nuclear-related material.” The IAEA has recently probed Iran for answers after traces of uranium were found at that site.
In his speech on Monday, the Israeli PM called on the international community to apply “pressure, pressure and more pressure” on Tehran. This time, reacting to the latest claims, Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif said the “possessor of real nukes cries wolf.”
The possessor of REAL nukes cries wolf—on an ALLEGED “demolished” site in Iran
He & #B_Team just want a war, no matter innocent blood & another $7 TRILLION
Remember his “GUARANTEE” of “positive reverberations” in ’02?
This time, he assuredly won’t be on the sidelines watching. pic.twitter.com/LsR6PYkZZs
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) September 9, 2019
Netanyahu’s claims of secret Iranian nuclear activity are somewhat ironic, given that Israel itself is widely believed to have its own clandestine nuclear weapons program, which Tel Aviv has neither confirmed nor denied.
In June, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimated in a new report that Israel has stockpiled between 80 and 90 nuclear warheads.
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