Israel accuses Iran of concealing material for N-programme

Updated September 28, 2018

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Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2018 in New York City. ─ AFP
Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, 2018 in New York City. ─ AFP

UNITED NATIONS: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran on Thursday of hiding nuclear-related material at a warehouse in Tehran, which he said proved it had not abandoned its nuclear weapons programme.

In a speech at the UN General Assembly, Netanyahu used pictures and diagrams to show where some 15 kilograms of radioactive material had been stored and called on the UN’s atomic agency to head to the locations immediately with Geiger counters.

“Today I am disclosing for the first time that Iran has another secret facility in Tehran, a secret atomic warehouse for storing massive amounts of equipment and materiel from Iran’s secret nuclear programme,” Netanyahu said in a speech that was mostly aimed at Iran.

He did not specify what the material was or suggest that Iran was actively violating a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, but his announcement is likely to bolster US efforts to take a harder line against Iran.

“Since we raided the atomic archive, they’ve been busy cleaning out the atomic warehouse. Just last month they removed 15 kilograms of radioactive material. You know what they did with it?” he said. “They took it out and spread it around Tehran in an effort to hide the evidence.”

In April Netanyahu unveiled what he said was archives that showed a secret Iranian nuclear weapons programme ahead of the United States’ decision to pull out of the nuclear deal.

He said Iranian officials had started cleaning out the atomic warehouse, but still had a lot of work to do because there were some 15 shipping containers full of nuclear-related equipment and materials stored at the site.

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

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2018