Israel announced on Tuesday that it had evidence that Iran stole sensitive documents from the United Nations Atomic Energy Agency more than two decades ago and used them to hide its nuclear programs from international inspectors. .
The documents appear to show that Iran was spying on the inspectors and seeking to anticipate and respond to any allegations of wrongdoing, but there is no indication that it was looking for nuclear weapons. Israel has pressured the United States and other international powers not to rebuild the broken nuclear deal with Iran.
The documents were distributed to the media by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. They come from a cache of Iranian nuclear records acquired by Israel in 2018 but never made public, according to his office.
The Wall Street Journal first reported on the documents last week, saying it had obtained them from a Middle Eastern intelligence agency “in a country opposed to Iran’s nuclear program.
Bennett said he was distributing the documents in reaction to comments made at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, who called the accusations a lie. The foreign minister referred to previous instances where Israel provided dire warnings that Iran was about to build nuclear weapons that did not materialize.
Spread false information? Please don’t make me laugh. Bennett remarked in a video distributed to the media, “I hold the proof of your lies here in my hands.” The Persian-language documents, which could not immediately be verified, appear to be stamped with official stamps, some of which are marked “secret”.
After Iran stole classified documents from the UN’s atomic agency, Iran used that information to figure out what the atomic agency hoped to find, then created covers and hid evidence to evade their nuclear probes,” Bennett said.
Iran has always insisted that its nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes. US intelligence agencies, Western countries and the International Atomic Energy Agency have said Iran had an organized nuclear weapons program until 2003.
Israel sees Iran as its biggest threat and has violently opposed the 2015 nuclear deal signed by Iran and world powers, saying it does not contain enough safeguards to prevent Iran from developing weapons capability or to deal with other Iranian military threats in the region. He hailed the Trump administration’s decision to unilaterally pull out of the deal, causing it to collapse, and opposes US efforts to revive the deal.
Israel is widely considered the only nuclear-weapon state in the Middle East. He has never publicly admitted to possessing such weapons.
One of the documents shared by Israel, an alleged Iranian memo from 2004, states that 27 pages of classified IAEA documents are being sent to prepare for an inspection of Iran’s Arak heavy water nuclear reactor. The reactor produces plutonium as a by-product, which can be used for nuclear weapons. The note states that the documents were obtained using intelligence methods.
(With agency contributions)
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