U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters Monday night the United States has known about Iran’s atomic archive “for a while,” and he discussed it with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when they met on Sunday.
Netanyahu revealed a cache of materials that had been in Iran’s possession and serve as evidence of Iran’s nuclear program,called AMAD. Pompeo confirmed that the AMAD program did end around December 2003 or January 2004.
“We’ve known about this material for a while,” Pompeo told reporters. Speaking of his Sunday meeting with Netanyahu, he added, “We certainly discussed the material yesterday when we were together.”
The Secretary confirmed, “iI’s been something that’s been in the works for a while.”
As to the authenticity of the materials the Prime Minister revealed, Pompeo assured, “I can confirm for you that these documents are real; they’re authentic.”
Pompeo said that the U.S. has known about the existence of the AMAD program “for quite some time.” However, he added that among the documents released on Monday, “There are thousands of new documents and new information.”
“We’re still going through it. There’s still a lot of work to do to figure out precisely the scope and scale of it. But it is the case – it – there is new information about that program,” he detailed.
The Secretary, who most recently served as CIA Director, said that the documents are evidence that “at the very least, the Iranians have continued to lie to their own people.” He said that while people have claimed that everyone knew about Iran’s activities, “the Iranians have consistently taken the position that they’ve never had a program like this.” These documents “will belie any notion that there wasn’t a program like this,” he said.
Pompeo left “to lawyers” and the President the question of whether the documents suggest violation of the JCPOA.
He added that while they knew about the program, U.S. officials have not had the opportunity to get through all of the documents released on Monday yet. “It’s complex, a lot of translation work,” he said, adding, “We’re still scratching the surface of what we’re going through.”
Asked about whether the U.S. has drawn conclusions yet, Pompeo said, “yes and no.” The documents have provided a lot more information about the AMAD program.
Pompeo hinted that there was a reason that Iran kept these documents:
We now know that they continued to store this material in an orderly fashion for some purpose – right? They kept the documents for a reason, and one can speculate as to why. If you said you were never – right? – the JCPOA says you’ll never, ever have a nuclear weapons program – right? Or maybe not with a not a never ever. You won’t ever have a nuclear weapons program. But you chose to store in secret and hide these documents?
His comment that they could have been kept for the Iranian museum was met with laughter from the press group.
The Israelis have provided the documents to U.S. officials for review. Pompeo said that he was confident they would do the same for other members of the P5, specifically that he believed they were providing expert briefings for Germany, France, and the U.K.
Asked about European relations and potential effects of pulling out of the JCPOA, Pompeo said that the U.S. is “working diligently to fix this thing.” He said that while flying, they have been working on language “that will address President [Donald] Trump’s concerns.”
“We’ve had lots of conversations with the Europeans,” Pompeo assured. “We know what it is they’re hoping to achieve. We share the same end goal to keep the Iranians from ever having a nuclear weapon. I am confident that we will continue to have good relations with our European partners should the President choose to pull out of this.”
President Trump has said that he will make a decision on or before May 12 as to whether to stay in or get out of the Iran Nuclear deal (JCPOA). During a Monday afternoon press conference, Trump declared that the Israeli release of the Iran AMAN program documents proved that he has “been 100% right” about Iran and nuclear development. He called the current Iran nuclear deal, specifically the sunset provision, “just not an acceptable situation.” Trump added, “That doesn’t mean we won’t negotiate a real agreement.”
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