(June 7, 2018 / Tower) The files documenting Iran’s nuclear research that were publicized by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the end of April show that Iran’s declarations of its past nuclear weapons work to the International Atomic Energy Agency were “comical,” a senior Israeli intelligence official who is analyzing the files told The New York Times on Monday.
The New York Times was reporting on Netanyahu’s efforts to convince his European counterparts, whom he is visiting this week, of the shortcomings of the nuclear deal with Iran.
The intelligence official supported Netanyahu’s charges that the files showed that Iran had an active nuclear-weapons program. An Israeli intelligence operation spirited the files out of Iran in January. Iran has long asserted that its nuclear research is for peaceful purposes only, but the files showed specific plans to create nuclear weapons.
“What Iran told the International Atomic Energy Agency about its capacities was almost comical compared to what we have here,” the official said. In addition, he continued, “Iran said there had only been feasibility and scientific studies, but what we see is that Iran ran a fully fledged nuclear-weapons programme, and that it followed directions from the political levels.”
David Albright, a former weapons inspector and head of the Institute for Science and International Security, confirmed to The New York Times the significance of the Israeli intelligence find. He noted that when South Africa and Taiwan ended their nuclear-weapons programs, they also allowed the IAEA to monitor all of their facilities to ensure that the program had really ended.
Speaking about the documents recovered by Israel, Albright pointed out, “[They] would parallel my understanding of the decision to build the Fordow underground enrichment plant that I have assessed a few years ago was likely designed to make weapon-grade uranium, based in part on inspector findings when they first visited the plant.”
In addition to the discovery of Iran’s documentation of its nuclear weapons work, recently publicized satellite images show that Iran also has a highly developed ballistic missile program.