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Home > Uncategorised > Israel-USA: Pushing for war against Iran

Israel-USA: Pushing for war against Iran

Tuesday 1 May 2018, by siawi3


April 30, 2018 / 3:32 PM / Updated 2 hours ago

Israel says Iran lied on nuclear arms, pressures U.S. to scrap deal

Stephen Farrell

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday stepped up pressure on the United States to pull out of a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, presenting what he called evidence of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program in a prime-time address on Israeli TV.

Intelligence experts and diplomats said he did not seem to have presented a “smoking gun†showing that Iran had violated the agreement, although he may have helped make a case on behalf of hawks in U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration who want to scrap it.

Most of the purported evidence Netanyahu unveiled dated to the period before the 2015 accord was signed, although he said Iran had also kept important files on nuclear technology since then, and continued adding to its “nuclear weapons knowledge†.

Tehran dismissed Netanyahu as “the boy who cried wolf†, and called his presentation propaganda.

Trump has threatened to pull the United States out of the international deal unless it is renegotiated by May 12. After Netanyahu spoke, Trump repeated his criticism of the deal, suggesting he backed the Israeli leader’s remarks.

“Iran’s leaders repeatedly deny ever pursuing nuclear weapons,†Netanyahu said at Israel’s Defence Ministry, standing in front of stacks of files representing what he described as a vault full of Iranian nuclear documents obtained weeks before.

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“Tonight I’m here to tell you one thing: Iran lied.â€

“Iran lied about never having a nuclear weapons program,†he said. “One hundred thousand secret files prove it did. Second, even after the deal, Iran continued to preserve and expand its nuclear weapons knowledge for future use.â€

Although the presentation was live on Israeli television, Netanyahu made clear his audience was abroad, delivering most of his speech in English, before switching to Hebrew.

Netanyahu said he had shared the intelligence with the United States and would dispatch envoys to France and Germany to present it. He also spoke by phone to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The White House later acknowledged receiving the information from Israel, saying it was examining it carefully.

“This information provides new and compelling details about Iran’s efforts to develop missile-deliverable nuclear weapons. These facts are consistent with what the United States has long known: Iran has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program that it has tried and failed to hide from the world and from its own people,†the White House said in a statement.

Tehran has denied ever seeking nuclear weapons and accuses its arch-foe Israel of stirring up world suspicions against it.

A senior U.S. official said Netanyahu gave new U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a heads-up about the presentation he would give while on a visit to Tel Aviv at the weekend.

“We were made aware of his plans,†the official said.


Under the 2015 nuclear deal struck by Iran and six major powers - Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States - Tehran agreed to limit its nuclear program in return for relief from U.S. and other economic sanctions.

Trump gave Britain, France and Germany a May 12 deadline to fix what he views as the deal’s flaws - its failure to address Iran’s ballistic missile program, the terms by which inspectors visit suspect Iranian sites, and “sunset†clauses under which some of its terms expire - or he will reimpose U.S. sanctions.

Much of what Netanyahu presented is unlikely to surprise world powers, which have long concluded that Iran was pursuing atomic weapons before the agreement was signed in 2015. That is in part why they imposed sanctions in the first place.

The French ambassador to Washington, Gerard Araud, tweeted that information about past Iranian nuclear activity was in fact an argument in favor of the nuclear deal, not against it.

A German government spokesman said it was vital to keep the independent inspections provided for under the deal.

Washington’s European allies say Tehran has generally abided by the terms of the deal since then, and have urged Trump not to scrap it. Some independent analysts and diplomats said Netanyahu appeared to be presenting old evidence.
Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv, Israel April 30, 2018. REUTERS/ Amir Cohen

Eran Etzion, a former deputy Israeli national security adviser who now heads the Israeli-European Forum of Strategic Dialogue think tank, said on Twitter: “No ‘smoking gun’ was revealed this evening, nor was it proven that Iran is today developing nuclear weaponry or violating the (nuclear deal) in any other way.â€

A British government spokesman defended the accord, saying in a statement: “We have never been naive about Iran and its nuclear intentions.â€

“That is why the IAEA 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 spokesman added.

Speaking after Netanyahu’s presentation, Trump told a White House news conference the nuclear deal was “a horrible agreement for the United States†. He said it would let Tehran develop nuclear arms after seven years and had “proven right what Israel has done today†with Netanyahu’s disclosures.

Washington itself has concluded, however, that Iran has not violated the deal’s terms. Two U.S. intelligence officials who have monitored Iran’s nuclear weapons program for years said nothing in Netanyahu’s remarks appeared to contradict that view.

“We have seen no new and credible evidence that Iran is violating the agreement, whether in the Prime Minister’s remarks today or from other sources,†said one of the officials, both of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Moments before Netanyahu spoke Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted: “The boy who can’t stop crying wolf is at it again†.

Israel is widely believed to be the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East, although it neither confirms nor denies possessing atomic weapons.

Reporting by Stephen Farrell; Additional reporting by Rami Amichay, Stephen Farrell, Ori Lewis, Ari Rabinovitch, Dan Williams, Arshad Mohammed, John Irish, John Walcott, Steve Holland, Parisa Hafezi, Francois Murphy, Eric Beech and Alistair Smout; Editing by James Dalgleish and Peter Cooney



Israel’s Netanyahu makes big pitch to claim Iran is cheating on nuclear deal; Trump likes what he hears

By Tracy Wilkinson and Noga Tarnopolsky

Apr 30, 2018 | 4:50 PM

| Jerusalem
Israel’s Netanyahu makes big pitch to claim Iran is cheating on nuclear deal; Trump likes what he hears

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presents material on Iranian nuclear weapons development in Tel Avi on April 30. (Associated Press)

Video: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday accused Iran of lying and cheating on the landmark 2015 nuclear deal from which President Trump has threatened to withdraw.

Netanyahu, who opposed the deal, made a presentation at the Israeli Defense Ministry, alongside oversize photographs of Iranian documents he described as secret. Israel obtained 100,000 Iranian documents a few weeks ago, and they had been corroborated by U.S. intelligence agencies, he said.

The cache proved, he said, that Iran’s role in the nuclear deal, which bans the country from producing nuclear weapons and includes other restrictions, was “based on lies.”

Netanyahu said the documents revealed details of a clandestine program called Project Amad whose aim was to build nuclear weapons. Though it was shelved in 2003, Netanyahu said, Iran cheated by failing to disclose Project Amad when signing the 2015 nuclear deal with the United States and other world powers.

“Iran did not come clean on its nuclear program,” Netanyahu said, clutching a microphone and roaming the stage with backdrops of brightly colored graphs and a huge sign, “Iran lied.”

Trump has repeatedly threatened to “rip up” the deal, which he has called the worst in history. Still, he has certified Iran’s compliance every three months of his presidency to maintain the suspension of onerous economic sanctions against Iran.

Trump has said he won’t certify Iran’s compliance again, but has not announced a decision. The next date for a certification decision is May 12, and insisting on reimposing sanctions, as he has indicated he might do, could cause the deal to unravel.

Netanyahu’s elaborate PowerPoint presentation, given in English rather than Hebrew and telecast live internationally, appeared to be a way of encouraging Trump to dump the deal.

The two men, both of whom have long said they loathed the agreement, gave news conferences one after the other, Trump appearing at the White House about half an hour after Netanyahu finished in Tel Aviv.

They also spoke by telephone over the weekend, the White House said, and Trump’s new secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, met with Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on Sunday.

“We’ll see what happens,” Trump said at a Rose Garden news conference where he was hosting Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

Netanyahu’s presentation, Trump told reporters, proves “I’ve been 100% right.”

“I’m not telling you what I’m doing, but a lot of people think they know,” Trump said. “And on or before the 12th we’ll make a decision. That doesn’t mean we won’t negotiate a real agreement.”

He has said he might agree to stick with the deal if European leaders who are cosignatories “fix” it by addressing Iran’s ballistic missile program and its support for militant groups and by removing the expiration dates on some restrictions.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron went to Washington separately last week to lobby Trump against abandoning the agreement. Germany, France, the United States, Britain, Russia and China signed the agreement with Iran.

Under the accord, Iran destroyed or dismantled the bulk of its nuclear infrastructure and shipped its nuclear fuel out of the country. In exchange, a network of international economic sanctions was eased, and seized property, including cash held in U.S. banks, was returned to Tehran.

Some observers who generally support the deal downplayed Netanyahu’s claims.

“We know Iran lied in the past; the key question is whether Iran has lied to the world [and] inspectors since signing” the nuclear deal in 2015, said Samantha Vinograd, who served on President Obama’s National Security Council team that helped to craft the accord.

Suzanne Maloney, a senior fellow at the Brookings Center for Middle East Policy, echoed several who said that if Iran is cheating, that’s precisely a reason to stick with the deal.

“Nothing that Netanyahu has said so far undercuts the rationale for the” Iran nuclear deal, Maloney, a former State Department official, said on Twitter. “That deal was predicated on a very clear & broad understanding by all the parties that Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapons program.”

Netanyahu’s speech was announced midafternoon as an “address to the nation” that would reveal “dramatic” news regarding the Iran deal, a day after Israel may or may not have been behind deadly airstrikes targeting Iranian positions in Syria. The Israeli stock market fell sharply in anticipation of dire news. Panicked Israelis, fearing their prime minister was about to declare war, flooded drive-time radio news shows.

Netanyahu, faced with corruption investigations and whose coalition government has been menaced by rebellious ministers, has staked his reputation as an expert reader of the U.S. political sphere and on a close alliance with Trump.

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, mocked both leaders on Twitter. He teased Netanyahu for acting like “the boy who can’t stop crying wolf” and claimed Trump was “jumping on a rehash of old allegations” already resolved by U.N. inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, who have judged the Islamic Republic to be generally in compliance with the deal’s restrictions.

Special correspondent Tarnopolsky reported from Jerusalem and Times staff writer Wilkinson from Washington.


Also read:

Netanyahu: Iran Nuclear Deal Is Based on Lies – Here’s the Proof