Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has accused Iran of deceiving world leaders about its nuclear weapons programme following a live broadcast on Israeli YV on Monday night.
Addressing the nation, and television networks around the world, Netanyahu said his government had secured “half a ton” of secret Iranian documents relating to a historical nuclear weapons program.
Whilst Iran maintain it only pursued nuclear aspirations Netanyahu’s presentation told a different tale.
Netanyahu canceled a scheduled appearance in the Knesset for the address.
Speaking in English, Netanyahu overviewed how Iran had conned the world before signing a 2015 deal to halt its nuclear energy programme in return for lifting of sanctions.
In a detailed address, he said Israel had discovered 55,000 documents and 183 CDs of information from Iran’s “nuclear archives with incriminating evidence about “Project Amad” to develop a weapon.
Netanyahu asserted the material demonstrated that Iran could not be trusted and called on President Donald Trump to walk away from a nuclear deal with Iran scheduled for next month.
Netanyahu has been a long-time critic of a deal when President Barack Obama negotiated it.
Concerned about safeguards in preventing Iran from reaching a nuclear weapons capability, Trump has described the agreement as “the worst deal ever.”
And the US leader has stated he will withdraw by May 12 unless it is revised in spite of pressure from European allies.
Netanyahu says he would share the new data with allies and the international nuclear agency.
Whilst Netanyahu provided no direct evidence Iran had violated the 2015 agreement, the newly acquired documents proved that Iran could resume its nuclear programme.
“We can now prove that Project Amad was a comprehensive program to design, build and test nuclear weapons,” he said.
“We can also prove that Iran is secretly storing Project Amad material to use at a time of its choice to develop nuclear weapons.”
A White House statement accepted there were “new and compelling details” in Mr Netanyahu’s material.
“These facts are consistent with what the United States has long know,” the statement noted.
“Iran has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons programme that it has tried and failed to hide from the world and from its own people.”
European powers though still appear committed to a deal.
“We have never been naive about Iran and its nuclear intentions,” a UK government spokesperson said. “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 revelations have brought reaction from Jewish bodies including the American Jewish Congress who are “very concerned” by the emerging allegations.
“We remain concerned that the Iranian regime is growing bolder and more dangerous, with catastrophic potential consequences for the region and the world,” said AJC President, Jack Rosen. “While we opposed the Iran deal at the time we were happy to be proven wrong, but there are now worrying signs that Iran has been less than honest with the international community regarding its nuclear program.
“The 15-year period where the nuclear program can be resumed is fast approaching.
“As President Trump said today, it is “not acceptable” that in seven years Iran would be free to pursue its nuclear program.
“The allegations by Prime Minister Netanyahu show that President Trump may have been right regarding this horrible agreement.
“As the expiry of the waiver on sanctions against the Iranian regime similarly draws near, the American Jewish Congress echoes Prime Minister Netanyahu in calling on President Trump to do the right thing for the US.
“The right thing for Israel. And the right thing for the peace of the world.”