As the deadline fast approaches for President Trump to decide on whether or not to abandon the, the so-called Iran nuclear deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was certain that Trump will “do the right thing for the United States, for Israel and for the peace of the world” by withdrawing from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action by next Saturday.
Netanyahu spoke on Monday evening with Russian President Vladimir Putin in wake of the exposure of the documents on the Iranian plan to achieve nuclear weapons. The two also discussed the situation in Syria and agreed to meet in the near future, a spokesman from the prime minister’s office said.
According to Netanyahu’s exhaustively researched evidence, Iran lied “big time” repeatedly to the international community by denying for years that the country’s nuclear program was focused on generating nuclear power for civilian purposes.
In a 15-minute presentation at the Ministry of Defense complex in Tel Aviv on Monday evening, Netanyahu unveiled a trove more than 100,000 documents that he said were obtained in recent weeks from a secret warehouse in southern Tehran. In speech aimed at the international community and delivered in English, the prime minister showed photographs of classified maps, charts, photographs, blueprints, videos and more documenting the Islamic Republic’s ongoing effort to create nuclear weapons. The premier said Israel had shared the intelligence with both the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) before saying coyly that the documents were “now in a very safe place.”
Netanyahu said that the nuclear deal did nothing to derail Iran’s drive towards integrating nuclear warheads onto ballistic missiles, including the long-range Shahab 3, and to expand the range of its nuclear-capable missiles
“They can (already) reach Riyadh, Tel Aviv, Moscow, but they’re working on far longer ranges,” he added.
Netanyahu also showed photographic evidence of the Fordo nuclear site which is built into the side of a mountain some 200 kilometers south of Tehran, and said that since signing the nuclear deal with the so-called P5+1 international group, a reference to the UN Security Council’s five permanent members China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Germany, the site has continued to operate at an expanded rate of operation.
“You don’t put centrifuges under a mountain in order to create medical isotopes,” Netanyahu said. “You do it to create nuclear weapons.
“You also won’t be surprised to learn that Iran insisted on keeping (Fordo operational), and the nuclear deal enabled it to do it. but came with a hitch: Iran was required by the IAEA to come clean about its nuclear program. That was explicit condition for implementing nuclear deal.”
But when the nuclear watchdog issued its final report on the matter in December, 2015, Netanyahu said they lied.
“This was Iran’s chance to come clean. They could have told the truth, could’ve said they’d shelved the program and destroyed the material. But Iran actually denied the existence of a coordinated program aimed at creating nuclear weapons devices… (unfortunately,) the evidence shows different,” Netanyahu said.
The intelligence heist illustrated several conclusions, the prime minister said: That Iran lied about never having had a nuclear weapons program; that even after signing the deal, Iran continued to preserve and expand files for future use, that Iran lied again in 2015 when didn’t come clean to IAEA.
“Why would a terrorist regime save, document files if not to save for future use?”
Netanyahu’s blockbuster presentation won effusive accolades from members of both the governing coalition and parliamentary opposition. MK Yoav Kisch, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud Party, praised the prime minister on Twitter for “exposing (Iran’s) lies and distortions, and the naiveté of the deal that (the international community) signed with it.
“This was a stunning intelligence accomplishment,” Kisch said.
MK Itzik Shmueli, a member of the opposition Zionist Union, used even more fawning language to praise intelligence services.
“The heart bursts with pride at the daring and the ability of our brave Mossad agents” who brought home an intelligence score that is “enormous, both in terms of quantity and quality.
“Even the biggest deniers in the world must now draw the obvious conclusions and demand immediate improvements to the deal that was signed between the P5+1. In particular, the end date of the deal must be revoked, the ballistic missile program must be stopped, Iran must be prevented from developing advanced centrifuges for enriching (uranium) and halt Iran’s aggressiveness in Syria and around the region,” Shmuli wrote, also on Twitter.
Netanyahu spoke on Monday evening with Russian President Vladimir Putin in wake of the exposure of the documents on the Iranian nuclear deal. The two also discussed the situation in Syria and agreed to meet in the near future, a spokesman from the prime minister’s office said.
In a related development, America’s European allies are drawing a sharply different collective conclusion from the U.S. about Netanyahu’s presentation on how Iran lied about its nuclear program.
European diplomats suspect the Israeli leader’s presentation was choreographed with the White House. Netanyahu did not directly accuse Iran of violating the accord, but his aim, say analysts, was to counter the intense lobbying of Trump by the Europeans, who say the deal shouldn’t be discarded.
Britain’s foreign minister Boris Johnson joined European counterparts Tuesday in defending the 2015 deal, which Trump has to decide by May 12 to renew or walk away from.
“The Israeli prime minister’s presentation on Iran’s past research into nuclear weapons technology underlines the importance of keeping the Iran nuclear deal’s constraints on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions,” Johnson said.
He added: “The Iran nuclear deal is not based on trust about Iran’s intentions; rather it is based on tough verification, including measures that allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency unprecedented access to Iran’s nuclear program. The fact that Iran conducted sensitive research in secret until 2003 shows why we need the intrusive inspections allowed by the Iran nuclear deal today.”
A spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May underlined Johnson’s remarks, saying, “We have never been naive about Iran and its nuclear intentions, that is why the International Atomic Energy Agency inspection regime agreed as part of the Iran nuclear deal is one of the most extensive and robust in the history of international nuclear accords.”
The White House, however, has praised the shocking intelligence from Israel on Iran’s nuclear weapons program, calling it “new and compelling” though officials in Washington have stopped short of charging Tehran with outright violations of its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.
U.S. officials reviewing the cache of documents, charts, blueprints, photos and videos recovered by Israeli intelligence said late Monday that the materials they had seen were authentic and consistent with information amassed by the U.S. over many years.
“This information provides new and compelling details about Iran’s efforts to develop missile-deliverable nuclear weapons,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
“Iran has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program that it has tried and failed to hide from the world and from its own people,” she added. “The Iranian regime has shown it will use destructive weapons against its neighbors and others. Iran must never have nuclear weapons.”
On another related front, according to an NBC News report, US officials have said that “Israel appears to be preparing for war with the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
“On the list of the potentials for most likely live hostility around the world, the battle between Israel and Iran in Syria is at the top of the list right now,” one of the senior officials told NBC News.
According to the officials, the latest explosions at Syrian military bases were a possible sign that Israel and Iran are moving closer to an all-out war.
Approximately 200 missiles were destroyed and dozens of Iranian soldiers were reportedly killed in the explosions which rocked Syrian military facilities in and around Hama and Aleppo Sunday night. Iran has denied that any of its forces were killed in the explosions.
According to the US officials, Israeli F-15 fighter jets struck the base near Hama after Iran delivered weapons to the base, where Iran’s 47th Brigade is stationed. The weapons included surface-to-air missiles.
Israeli leaders have voiced concerns about the growing Iranian military presence in Syria. Over the last week, Israeli military leaders have met with their US counterparts to discuss the Iranian military build-up in Syria.
Defense Secretary James Mattis informed Congress last week that he believes that a military confrontation between Israel and Iran in Syria is becoming increasing likely.
Tensions between Israel and Iran have been high in recent months. In February, an Iranian drone armed with explosives infiltrated Israel.
The drone, which entered Israeli airspace from Syria, remained in Israel for 1.5 minutes before the IAF shot it down.
Responding to the infiltration, Israel attacked the drone’s command center. During the IAF operation, Syrian surface-to-air missiles downed an Israeli F-16I fighter jet.
Also weighing in with his opinions on the Iran nuclear deal, Conservative commentator, three-time presidential hopeful, and former White House communications director Pat Buchanan slammed Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on Monday, following his video address revealing evidence the Iranian regime lied about its nuclear weapons program. Along with several European leaders, Buchanan also dismissed the evidence brought forth by Netanyahu on Monday, issuing a warning that Israel was attempting to maneuver the US into a war with Tehran.
In an interview with FOX television’s Sean Hannity on Monday evening, Buchanan claimed Iran had no desire to build a nuclear weapon.
“Bibi has been crying wolf for decades. US intelligence agencies in 2007, and again in 2011, said with high confidence…that they had no evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran. Subsequent to that, we had the deal,” said Buchanan, drawing on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif’s comments earlier on Monday describing Netanyahu as a ‘boy who can’t stop crying wolf’.
“The reason the Iranians signed the deal is because of the truth of what American intelligence said… they didn’t have a nuclear weapons program. Ahmadinejad said, ‘look, I’m not stupid. If we spent all this time, money, energy and money building an atomic bomb, and the Americans have 5,000?’ One atomic bomb? The reason Iran doesn’t have a bomb is that they don’t want it. They could have built a bomb,” opined Buchanan.
Buchanan suggested that evidence to the contrary was part of an effort by Israel to draw the US into a war with Iran. “Now, if Iran has a nuclear weapons program and is working on it and its secret, that’d be an abject failure on the part of American intelligence. Bibi Netanyahu, with due respect, wants the United States to fight a war against Iran on Israel’s behalf. I don’t want my country getting into another war.”
A controversial figure within the Reagan White House, Buchanan was heavily criticized for reportedly encouraging President Reagan to visit a German military cemetery in Bitburg during a 1985 trip to West Germany, despite the fact that nearly 50 Nazi Waffen SS soldiers were buried in the cemetery.
Buchanan strongly backed President Trump’s 2016 presidential bid.
Critics, including National Review founder William F. Buckley, a prominent figure in the American conservative movement, have accused Buchanan of anti-Semitism, citing his comments on the Holocaust and US policy in the Middle East.
Following a 1990 piece by Buchanan denying that 900,000 Jews were systematically killed at the Treblinka concentration camp, Buckley penned In Search of Anti-Semitism, saying it was “impossible to defend” Buchanan against allegations of anti-Semitism.
By: Fern Sidman
(TPS. WIN & INN)
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