(October 3, 2018 / Israel Hayom) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lambasted the International Atomic Energy Agency on Tuesday, hours after it issued a laconic statement dismissing his claim of a secret nuclear installation in Iran.
Netanyahu said the agency, which has been tasked by the United Nations with verifying Iran’s nuclear compliance, “must inspect the site immediately” before it is too late.
Addressing the U.N. General Assembly last week, Netanyahu presented world leaders with evidence that Iran was storing nuclear-related material in violation of the 2015 deal with world powers. The undeclared site is located in Turouzabad, just outside the capital Tehran, and could potentially store up to 300 tons of material and equipment.
Netanyahu even held up a prop with the coordinates and an image of the installation, and later tweeted what appeared to be a satellite image of the site.
“The IAEA relates to inspections that it has carried out in various places in Iran but it does not relate to the specific site in Turouzabad which Prime Minister Netanyahu referred to in his U.N. speech,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement on Tuesday.
“There is no reason to wait. The IAEA must inspect the site and immediately dispatch monitors with Geiger counters and the prime minister’s words will be seen as verifiably true.”
In its statement on Tuesday, the IAEA insisted that it had visited “all the sites and locations in Iran which it needed to visit,” but did not give a specific time or date when the site in Turouzabad may have been inspected.
“The agency sends inspectors to sites and locations only when needed. The agency uses all safeguards relevant to information available to it, but it does not take any information at face value,” the statement quoted IAEA chief Yukiya Amano as saying.
“In order to maintain credibility, the agency’s independence in relation to the implementation of verification activities is of paramount importance,” he added.
A senior Western diplomat told Israel Hayom that the European Union would fail to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, despite efforts to bypass U.S. sanctions.
In recent weeks, senior European officials, including E.U. foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini, have introduced measures aimed at enabling companies in the 28-member bloc to trade with Iran without being blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury. This includes various banking schemes and legal maneuvers.
But the Western diplomat told Israel Hayom that “there is zero chance that E.U. companies will continue trading with Iran, as the E.U. has virtually no viable option to protect companies from the U.S.”
He said it was “hard to believe that a company would want to take the risk of being targeted by U.S. authorities just for the sake of trading with a small and fragile economy such as Iran’s. In the cost-benefit analysis, it is just not worth it. Prime Minister Netanyahu is right and the nuclear deal is essentially dead.”