TEL AVIV – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu received approval from President Donald Trump before a massive intelligence mission last year in which some 100,000 documents on Iran’s nuclear program were smuggled out of a warehouse near Tehran by Mossad agents, Israeli television reported Tuesday.
In April, the Israeli premier gave a dramatic presentation of the stolen trove which he said proved that Iran had lied about its nuclear program. The operation, which took place over a single night in January, was one of the Israeli intelligence community’s “greatest achievements,” stated Netanyahu.
According to Hadashot news, Netanyahu had revealed his intentions to infiltrate Iran to Trump when the two met on the sidelines of the Davos World Economic Forum last January. The Israeli leader was said to have sought support from his American counterpart in case the operation went wrong and would need a rescue team to extract the agents, the report said.
The TV report also stated that the return of the agents that night was far more complex than originally reported, but it did not go into any details.
In April, the New York Times reported that the Mossad had been monitoring the warehouse since February 2016.
Iran “was on the cusp of mastering key bombmaking technologies when the research was ordered halted” in 2003, the Times said.
Other reports at the time released details on the Mossad‘s effort to seize the archive within six and a half hours, with one official comparing it to the heist from Ocean’s 11.
Netanyahu said the trove was discovered in what looked like a “dilapidated warehouse” 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 stated.
“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 said.
Netanyahu stated that “half a ton of the material” on papers and CDs comprising “incriminating documents, incriminating charts, incriminating presentations, incriminating blueprints, incriminating photos, incriminating videos and more” had been brought back to Israel.
“We’ve shared this material with the United States, and the United States can vouch for its authenticity,” he said.