Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a slideshow presentation on Monday detailing the Jewish state’s findings of Iran’s ongoing nuclear weapons program. Below are the presentation’s key takeaways.
Iran Lied to the World About Not Wanting, or Pursuing, Nuclear Weapons
Netanyahu’s presentation included video clips of assorted Iranian state officials – including Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, President Hassan Rouhani, and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif – denouncing nuclear weapons and denying the Iranian government’s intent to procure them.
Netanyahu said a “highly secret location” in the Shorabad district of Tehran housed the informational archives for Iran’s nuclear weapons program. “From the outside, this was an innocent looking compound,” he explained. “It looks like a dilapidated warehouse, but from the inside, it contained Iran’s secret atomic archives locked in massive files.”
He said Israeli intelligence had “obtained half a ton of material” from the archives through “a great intelligence achievement” weeks ago.
“Few Iranians knew where it was,” said Netanyahu. “Very few, and also a few Israelis.”
The documents and data found in the archives, he added, reveal Iran’s ongoing development of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).
As a signatory state to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran committed to abstain from pursuing the acquisition and development of nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency organizes inspections of signatory states in pursuit of compliance towards this end.
Netanyahu said, “So these files conclusively prove that Iran is brazenly lying when it says it never had a nuclear weapons program. The files prove that.”
The Iranian regime has repeatedly stated it has no intention to develop nuclear weapons. For years, Iran supporters have claimed falsely that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei issued a fatwa against nuclear weapons. President Barack Obama, insisting that the JCPOA made a nuclear weapons program impossible to hide, also stated that Iran’s pursuit of a “peaceful” nuclear energy program could be separated from its weapons development.
In September, President Hassan Rouhani told NBC News, “we will never go towards production of nuclear weapons, just as in the past we never intended to go towards that path nor did we ever. It has always been peaceful.” As recently as last week, Zarif said in an interview in New York, “our nuclear program was never intended to produce nuclear weapons.”
The Israeli revelations, if the documents do reveal what Netanyahu promised, prove that Iranian officials lied about the nature of their nuclear development for years, not simply during the JCPOA era.
Iran Lied to the IAEA About Its Weapons Program Before the Iran Deal
Netanyahu said the Joint Comprehensives Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the “Iran Deal,” required Iran to disclose the full nature of its nuclear program.
“Iran was required by the nuclear deal, to come clean to the International Atomic Energy Agency about its nuclear program. This was an explicit condition for implementing the nuclear deal. Iran has to come clean. So in December 2015, the IAEA published its final assessment of what it called the military aspects of Iran’s nuclear program. This is the report. … Iran denied the existence of a coordinated program aimed at the development of a nuclear explosive device and specifically denied … the existence of the Amad plan. The material proves otherwise, that Iran authorized, initiated and funded Project Amad, a coordinated program aimed at the development of a nuclear explosive device.”
According to Netanyahu, the 55,000 pages of documents and 183 CDs Israel acquired from Iran reveal detailed plans to “design, produce, and test … five warheads, each with 10-kiloton TNT yields for integration on a missile.”
“That is like five Hiroshima bombs to be put on ballistic missiles,” Netanyahu asserted.
The range of these warheads heavily depends on whether Iran can manufacture long-range ballistic missiles that can successfully carry these warheads.
Iran’s “Project Amad” pursues development of both nuclear warheads and ICBMs, said Netanyahu. “We can now prove that Project Amad was a comprehensive program to design, build, and test nuclear weapons,” he said.
A slide of Netanyahu’s read: “Iran is continually expanding the range of its nuclear-capable missiles. Shahab 3 – 1,000 km; Ghadr 1H – 1,650 km; Ghadr 1F 1,950 km.”
“[Iran’s ICBMs] can reach Riyadh, Tel-Aviv, Moscow, but they’re working on far, far greater ranges,” warned Netanyahu. “They’re planning much longer range missiles to carry nuclear weapons.”
Despite the Deal, Iran Is Pursuing Nuclear Weapons Research Under the Guise of Scientific Research
Netanyahu said the JCPOA did not stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Netanyahu claimed that Iran felt pressured to suspend its nuclear weapons program in 2003 following the beginning of the Iraq War. He said Iran subsequently rebranded its nuclear operations as pursuing generalized “scientific knowhow.”
“Special activities will be carried out under the title of scientific knowhow development,” read a slide of Netanyahu’s presentation, including what was a described as a copy of an original Iranian governmental document.
“Even after the deal, Iran continued to preserve and expand its nuclear weapons knowhow for future use,” said Netanyahu. He also said Dr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh – Project Amad’s director – continued working on Iran’s nuclear weapons program after Iran claimed to curb its nuclear enrichment operations.
Iranian officials claim Iran’s nuclear program is designed for agricultural, industrial, medical, and scientific purposes.
“The nuclear deal gives Iran a clear path to an atomic arsenal, including enriched uranium, ballistic missiles, and nuclear warheads,” said Netanyahu, describing the JCPOA as a “terrible deal” which “should never have been concluded.”
Iran Kept Its Research Archive So It Could Resume Its Nuclear Weapons Program Faster
Netanyahu said Iran never destroyed its nuclear knowhow. “Iran was faced with mounting pressure in 2003,” he said. “You remember that, that was following the Gulf War, so it was forced to shelve Project Amad. But it didn’t shelve its nuclear ambitions. So Iran devised a plan to do two things. First, to preserve the nuclear know-how from Project Amad, and second, to further develop its nuclear-weapons-related capabilities. That plan came directly from Iran’s top leadership.”
Last week, Zarif threatened to “vigorously” resume Iran’s nuclear weapons program if the Trump administration withdraws from the JCPOA.
As Breitbart News’s Aaron Klein reported, the JCPOA “perpetually leaves Iran months away from obtaining nuclear weapons.”
Israel Seized Half a Ton of Documents and the U.S. Verified Their Authenticity
Netanyahu said, “We’ve shared this material with the United States, and the United States can vouch for its authenticity.”
A report from Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs claims a U.S. official confirmed Netanyahu’s claim.
NEW: US official confirms what Netanyahu said.
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) April 30, 2018
Netanyahu added, “In a few days time, President Trump … will make his decision on what to do with the nuclear deal. I’m sure he’ll do the right thing for the United States, the right thing for Israel, and the right thing for the peace of the world.”
Following Netanyahu’s presentation, President Donald Trump said he had been proven “100 percent right” in his criticisms of the JCPOA.
“You know what we got? We got nothing,” Trump said of the JCPOA.
“I think if anything, what’s happening today and what’s happened over the last little while and what we’ve learned has really shown that I’ve been 100 percent right,” concluded Trump.
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.