The International Atomic Energy Agency, which is the United Nations nuclear watchdog tasked with monitoring Iran’s compliance to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA – the multinational nuclear deal that was signed in 2015 – declined to directly address accusations of Tehran’s non-compliance by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli leader stepped up pressure on the United States to pull out of the nuclear deal, ahead of a deadline set for the 12th of May, presenting what he called “evidence of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program,” that Netanyahu claimed was obtained by Israel’s intelligence agency some three months ago – and proved without a shadow-of-a-doubt ‘Iran’s ongoing efforts to deceive the international community.’ Netanyahu said during the presentation, “First, Iran lied about never having a nuclear weapons program, 100,000 secret files prove it did. Second, even after the deal, Iran continued to preserve and expand its nuclear weapons knowledge for future use. Why would a terrorist regime hide and meticulously catalogue its secret nuclear files if not to use them at a later date? Third, Iran lied again in 2015 when it didn’t come clean to the IAEA as required by the nuclear deal. And finally, the Iran deal, the nuclear deal, is based on lies. It is based on Iranian lies and Iranian deception. 100,000 files right here prove that they lied,” the Israeli leader asserted.
In a report issued in December 2015, shortly before the nuclear-deal went into effect, the IAEA said, “a range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device were conducted in Iran prior to the end of 2003 as a coordinated effort”. Those activities continued after 2003, though in a less coordinated manner, and there was no credible indication of any beyond 2009.
While Israel said it would hand the newly-obtained material over to Britain, France and Germany for review later this week, EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, who is currently visiting Egypt, claimed Netanyahu’s so-called ‘intel revelation’ had not provided any evidence of Iran’s non-compliance to the JCPOA. Nevertheless, the European top diplomat emphasized that if anyone had any information of non-compliance, they should “address and channel” this information directly to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Joint-Commission for monitoring the nuclear agreement. Mogherini said, “The IAEA is the only impartial international organization that is in charge of monitoring Iran’s nuclear commitments. What I have seen from the first reports is that Prime Minister Netanyahu has not put in question Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA commitments meaning post-2015 nuclear commitments.” “We have mechanisms in place to address eventual concerns but again I have not seen from Prime Minister Netanyahu arguments for the moment of no-compliance meaning violation from Iran of its nuclear commitment under the nuclear deal,” the EU Foreign Policy Chief stressed, while adding that “The JCPOA nuclear agreement is based not on assumption of good faith or trust. It is based on concrete commitments, verification mechanisms and very strict monitoring of facts done by the IAEA. The IAEA has released ten reports certifying that Iran has fully complied with its commitments. In any case if any party of any country has information on non-compliance, of any kind, can and should address and channel this information through the proper legitimate and recognized mechanism being the IAEA and Joint-Commission for the monitoring of the nuclear deal that I chair and convened just a couple of months ago,” she said during a press conference in Cairo.
While Europe viewed Netanyahu’s presentation with skepticism, voicing cautious responses on the matter; Washington, on-the-other-hand, warmly welcomed the ‘revelation’, with U.S. President Donald Trump declaring the presentation’s conclusions as “not an acceptable situation.” Even though President Trump declined to say whether the United States would pull out of the nuclear deal before the 12th of May deadline – the American leader reiterated a concerning flaw of the JCPOA that would allow the Islamic Republic to pursue nuclear weapons the moment the deal expires. He said, “You know in seven years that deal will have expired and Iran is free to go ahead and create nuclear weapons, that’s not acceptable seven years is tomorrow, that’s not acceptable,” the American leader stressed.
Meanwhile, Iran responded to the accusations as “old allegations” that had been dealt by the International Atomic Energy Agency in the past. Tehran’s top diplomat, Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed Prime Minister Netanyahu as “the boy who cried wolf,” and referred to his presentation as sheer propaganda. That said, the chief of Tehran’s atomic energy organization stressed, in an interview to Iran’s News Network IRINN, that ‘the Islamic Republic’s capacity to resume uranium enrichment has grown significantly than in the past’. Ali Akbar Salehi said, “I have said this more than once, that technically, we are fully capable of returning (to enriching uranium) further than in the past and in parts comparably higher than before,” while adding that “We (Iran) hope that we never have to come to this situation, and hope that Mister Trump and his colleagues, his government, come to their senses and do not cause a headache and create problems either for themselves nor for us or others,” the chief of Iran’s Energy Organization said.