Ex-head of Israeli nuclear agency: Netanyahu's Iran speech is 'history'


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's unveiling of a trove of Iranian nuclear documents offered no evidence of violations of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, according to a former head of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission.  

"All that Netanyahu said in his presentation was history and it didn't touch on any evidence of the Iranians not abiding by the contract," Uzi Eilam told journalists, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed between Iran and six world powers.  

"The only news is the fact that our intelligence bodies, perhaps the Mossad, got their hands on very far-ranging documents and they were able to bring it over to Israel," Eilam added.

Netanyahu on Monday presented what he said were 55,000 documents and 183 CDs smuggled from Tehran that proved that Iran lied about its past nuclear programme.  

The information covers Iran's Project Amad, which he said spanned from 1999 to 2003 and did not point to any direct post-2015 actions. Netanyahu's presentation elicited different reactions from supporters and detractors of the Iran deal.  

France's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that "the material presented by Israel reinforces the relevance of this agreement." The material would need to be "studied and assessed in detail," a spokeswoman said.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo however said on Monday that the Israeli intelligence showed "the deal was not constructed on a foundation of good faith or transparency."

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif rejected Netanyahu's presentation as a "rehash of old allegations."

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is responsible for monitoring Iran under the 2015 nuclear deal, did not respond directly to Netanyahu's accusations, but reiterated its conclusions from a previous report that same year.

"The same report stated that the Agency had no credible indications of activities in Iran relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device after 2009. Based on the Director General's report, the Board of Governors declared that its consideration of this issue was closed," IAEA spokeperson Fredrik Dahl said. "The IAEA evaluates all safeguards-relevant information available to it," he said. "However, it is not the practice of the IAEA to publicly discuss issues related to any such information."

Netanyahu's statements come ahead of a May 12 deadline for U.S. President Donald Trump to decide on whether to re-introduce U.S. sanctions on Iran, possibly spelling an end to the agreement.

The prime minister is among the world's fiercest critic of the deal saying it does not prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon in the long-term and does not deal with Iran's ballistic missile programme.    (dpa)

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