IAEA declines to consider Iran nuke claims by Israeli leader

IAEA declines to consider Iran nuke claims by Israeli leader

May 1 (UPI) — The United Nations’ top nuclear watchdog declined Tuesday to address accusations from Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu that Iran has violated the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Monday night, Netanyahu — a longtime opponent of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — said Israel had thousands of pages of documents proving Iran is secretly pursuing a nuclear program.

“After signing the nuclear deal in 2015, Iran intensified its efforts to hide its secret files,” Netanyahu said. “In 2017, Iran moved its nuclear weapons files to a highly secret location in Tehran.”

The International Atomic Energy Agency responded Tuesday that it “evaluates all safeguards-relevant information available to it” but would not “publicly discuss issues related to any such information.”

The atomic watchdog cited a report on Iran’s nuclear activity, presented by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano in 2015, where the IAEA found “no credible indications” of any nuclear explosives development in Iran after 2009.

“Based on the director general’s report, the Board of Governors declared that its consideration of this issue was closed,” the agency said.

The announcement comes just days before U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to decide whether to remain party to the Obama-era agreement. The president has said he will decide the matter by May 12.

“IAEA is the only impartial international organization in charge of monitoring Iran’s nuclear commitments,” Federica Mogherini, the president of the European Union Committee, said. “If any country has information of non-compliance of any kind should address this information to the proper legitimate and recognized mechanism.”

Mogherini said the IAEA published ten reports certifying Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA, adding the historic agreement was based not on assumptions and good faith but on “concrete commitments, verification mechanisms and a very strict monitoring of facts.”

Netanyahu has praised the Trump’s administration’s threat to pull out of the deal if it isn’t renegotiated. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered U.S. support for Israel’s efforts “to counter Iran’s destabilizing and malign activity throughout the Middle East, and indeed throughout the world.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif compared Netanyahu to the boy who cried wolf, and commented on the “convenient” timing of the of the intelligence reveal.

Jeffrey Lewis, an arms control expert from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, said Netanyahu’s accusations Monday were simply a “dog-and-pony show.”

“As you will see, everything he said was already known to the IAEA,” Lewis tweeted. “There is literally nothing new here and nothing that changes the wisdom of the JCPOA.”

Trump has repeatedly called the nuclear accord a “bad” deal and said he wants the United States out of it. British, French and German leaders have negotiated with U.S. officials in recent months to keep the pact together.

Last week, French President Emmanueal Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Washington to pressure Trump to stick with the agreement.