Netanyahu Says Iran Has Secret Warehouse for Nuclear Program
(Bloomberg) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used his annual speech to the United Nations General Assembly to accuse Iran of having another secret facility for its nuclear program and to call on the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect the site immediately.
Standing at the UN podium Thursday, Netanyahu waved a photograph of a building in Tehran that he said Israeli intelligence had identified as a previously unknown storage warehouse for Iran’s nuclear work. Iranian authorities had in the past month removed 15 kilograms (33 pounds) of radioactive material from the warehouse and hid it around Tehran, he said, adding that the site contains 300 tons of nuclear-related equipment and material.
“The reason Iran didn’t destroy its atomic archive and its atomic warehouse is because it hasn’t abandoned its goal to develop nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said, adding that ‘what Iran hides, Israel will find.
The presentation was in line with the Israeli leader’s long history of making dramatic presentations or accusations at the UN General Assembly. In 2012, he unveiled a small poster board with a cartoon drawing of a nuclear bomb, which he used to illustrate the threat he saw from Iran’s nuclear program.
Three years later, an agreement aimed at easing economic sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program was reached by the U.S., Iran and other world powers, but Netanyahu said the agreement didn’t go far enough and the Trump administration withdrew from the accord in May.
Netanyahu’s latest accusation comes several months after he unveiled an archive of material on the Iranian nuclear program that he said Israeli intelligence agents smuggled out of Tehran early this year.
Iran has long denied that its nuclear program was ever aimed at developing weapons. International inspectors say they have no evidence that Iran sought to develop a nuclear weapon after 2003, but Netanyahu said the archive Israel found earlier this year showed the Islamic Republic planned to restart its weapons program when restrictions on its uranium enrichment are set to expire in a few years.
The archive Israel unveiled in May had been shared with IAEA and P5+1, Netanyahu said, and that the intelligence unveiled Thursday has been shared with IAEA and unnamed intelligence agencies.
Netanyahu told the UN that Israel will never allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon and reiterated previous vows to act against Iranian military actions in Syria that he sees as threats to national security, and even in Iraq. He also displayed information that he said showed efforts by Iranian-backed Hezbollah to develop precision weapons that the organization had based inside civilian areas of Beirut.
Addressing Hezbollah directly, Netanyahu said, “Israel knows what you are doing, Israel knows where you are doing it, and Israel will not let you get away with it.”
Netanyahu addressed the assembly a few minutes after Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who called on President Donald Trump to rescind recent steps such as recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and cutting financial aid to the Palestinians.
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