Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Monday the discovery of a secret cache of documents related to Iranian nuclear proliferation that he says prove the regime violated the Obama-led international non-proliferation deal they entered in 2015.
“Tonight, I’m here to tell you one thing: Iran lied — big time,” Netanyahu said during an address from the Israel Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv.
Netanyahu went on to celebrate the recovery of some 100,000 Iranian government files, which he claims prove the regime lied about past efforts to seek nuclear weapons and future plans to continue development in signing the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
“Iran planned at the highest level to continue work related to nuclear weapons under different guises and using the same personnel,” he said.
The documents, which Netanyahu claims were found by Israeli intelligence services in an “innocent-looking compound” in Shorabad District in southern Tehran, include blueprints, photos, and videos.
Many of the recovered documents reportedly pertain to Project Amad, a secret government program aimed at producing five nuclear warheads, each of which scientists hoped would contain five times the explosive yield of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in World War II.
A longtime and harsh critic of the Obama-era nuclear deal, Netanyahu said Monday that Iran’s refusal to disclose Project Amad violated the nucelar deal’s requirement that the regime “come clean” about its past proliferation efforts.
Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi called Netanyahu’s comments “childish” and “laughable” while President Donald Trump interpreted the address as evidence that his skepticism of the nuclear deal was warranted.
Trump has until May 12 to determine whether he will continue to exempt Iran from the economic sanctions that were lifted as a result of the nuclear deal, which former president Barack Obama entered absent congressional approval.
Critics of Netanyahu’s address point out that he did not reveal any new evidence that Iran violated the nuclear deal after signing it, only that he entered the deal under false pretenses. Skeptics further allege that the timing of the intelligence reveal indicates Netanyahu is attempting to turn Trump, a longtime critic of the deal, further against his predecessor’s hallmark foreign policy achievement just days before he must decide whether to renew the agreement.