TEL AVIV — In a dramatic press conference in Jerusalem aimed at the international community, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday unveiled a cache of secret files he says were obtained from inside a hidden Iranian site and clearly demonstrate that Tehran maintained a secret nuclear weapons program despite declarations to the contrary.
Netanyahu explained that the structure of the U.S.-led international nuclear agreement was in part based on deceptive Iranian descriptions of its previous nuclear work. He said Iran’s failure to disclose its secret program while misleading the world shows the nuclear deal is “based on lies based on Iranian deception.”
The Israeli leader presented evidence that Iran continued research for a nuclear weapons program even after signing the 2015 nuclear deal.
“Iran’s leaders repeatedly deny ever pursuing nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu began. “Tonight I’m here to tell you one thing: Iran lied.”
“After signing the nuclear deal in 2015, Iran intensified its efforts to hide its secret files,” he said. “In 2017 Iran moved its nuclear weapons files to a highly secret location in Tehran.”
Netanyahu said the secret nuclear files prove the following:
Iran lied about never having a secret nuclear program. Second, even after the deal it continued to expand its nuclear program for future use. Third, Iran lied by not coming clean to the IAEA. Finally, the nuclear deal is based on lies based on Iranian deception.
The prime minister’s speech was based on 55,000 pages of documents and 183 CDs that Netanyahu said were smuggled out of an “atomic archive” painstakingly preserving Iran’s secretive nuclear program so that the country would have the option of restarting its nuclear weapons activities after the nuclear deal expires or in the case of Tehran prematurely bolting the agreement. Israel’s ability to acquire the archive marks a massive intelligence coup for the Jewish state.
“Iran lied. Big time,” Netanyahu said of the half-ton of material obtained by Israel.
The trove, Netanyahu added, contains “incriminating documents, incriminating charts, incriminating presentations, incriminating blueprints, incriminating photos, incriminating videos and more.”
He said Israel shared the material with the U.S., and that “the United States can vouch for its authenticity.”
The “atomic archive” was compiled by Iran with the express purpose of preserving its secretive nuclear weapons plan known as Project Amad, which aimed to “design, produce and test… five warheads, each with a 10 kiloton TNT yield, for integration on a missile.”
“That is like five Hiroshima bombs to be put on ballistic missiles,” asserted Netanyahu.
Netanyahu outlined Project Amad as containing five key elements described by the Times of Israel thusly: “Designing nuclear weapons, developing nuclear cores, building nuclear implosion systems, preparing nuclear tests and integrating nuclear warheads on missiles.”
Netanyahu said that in 2003, Iran shut down the version of Project Amad that existed at the time and instead divided its nuclear program into both covert and overt components. Besides archiving the material for future use, Netanyahu said Iran continued to research nuclear weapons.
Netanyahu called on President Donald Trump to “do the right thing” as the May 12 deadline to recertify the nuclear agreement approaches.
“The right thing for the United States. The right thing for Israel. And the right thing for the peace of the world,” he concluded.