Jack Guez / AFP / Getty
TEL AVIV – Mossad spies infiltrated a top-secret warehouse in Iran, took half a ton of documents on the regime’s nuclear weapons program and smuggled them back to Israel that same night, the New York Times reported late Monday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed the operation in a live broadcast on Monday showing dozens of documents with the aim of proving that Iran lied about its nuclear ambitions and its weapons program could be activated at any time.
Calling it one of the “greatest achievements” of Israeli intelligence, Netanyahu said the “incriminating” documents, charts, videos and blueprints were shared with the U.S., which “can vouch for its authenticity.”
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior Israeli official told the Times that the Mossad had the warehouse under surveillance since its discovery in February 2016.
Last January, operatives removed the original documents and smuggled them back to Israel the same night, the official said.
According to the official, President Donald Trump was informed of the operation by Mossad chief Yossi Cohen shortly thereafter while on a visit to Washington.
The official stated that the delay in making the material public was due to the time it took to analyze the documents, the vast majority of which were in Persian.
Netanyahu described the warehouse as an “innocent looking compound” in the Shorabad District in southern Tehran.
“This is where they kept the atomic archives. Right here. Few Iranians knew where it was, very few, and also a few Israelis,” Netanyahu said with a bookcase of files behind him.
“Now, from the outside, this was an innocent looking compound. It looks like a dilapidated warehouse. But from the inside, it contained Iran’s secret atomic archives locked in massive files,” he stated.
The White House on Monday responded to Netanyahu’s presentation, saying it provided “new and compelling details” about Tehran’s efforts to develop “missile-deliverable nuclear weapons.”
“These facts are consistent with what the United States has long known: Iran had a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program that it has tried and failed to hide from the world and from its own people,” the White House statement said.