France says Iran nuclear deal strengthened by Netanyahu claims
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France says Iran nuclear deal strengthened by Netanyahu claims

IAEA reiterates it has ‘no credible indications of activities in Iran relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device after 2009’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu departs after giving a speech on files obtained by Israel he says proves Iran lied about its nuclear program, at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, on April 30, 2018. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu departs after giving a speech on files obtained by Israel he says proves Iran lied about its nuclear program, at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, on April 30, 2018. (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)

PARIS, France — France said Tuesday that claims about Iran’s nuclear program presented by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reinforced the importance of a 2015 deal that imposes controls on the Islamic Republic.

In an elaborate televised presentation on Monday, the Israeli leader claimed he had new “proof” via captured documents that Iran had developed a nuclear weapons plan which could be activated at any time.

The French foreign ministry said the details needed to be “studied and evaluated,” but a spokesperson added that the evidence appeared to confirm what European powers had known for more than a decade and half.

“At first sight, they [the details] confirm that part of the Iranian nuclear program, as France and its partners stated during the first revelations in the summer of 2002, was not civilian,” said the spokesperson in a statement received by AFP.

US President Donald Trump, right, and French President Emmanuel Macron hold a joint press conference at the White House in Washington, DC, April 24, 2018. (Ludovic MARIN/AFP)

The 2015 nuclear deal negotiated between Iran and six world powers imposes nuclear inspections on Iran in return for the loosening of economic sanctions, but US President Donald Trump is threatening to pull out.

“The pertinence of the deal is reinforced by the details presented by Israel: all activity linked to the development of a nuclear weapon is permanently forbidden by the deal,” said the foreign ministry spokesperson.

“The inspection regime put in place by the [UN nuclear watchdog] IAEA thanks to the deal, is one of the most exhaustive and the most robust in the history of nuclear non-proliferation,” the statement added.

French President Emmanuel Macron has urged Trump to stick with the nuclear accord, arguing that it presents the only viable option available to the international community.

Besides agreeing to snap inspections, Iran also cut the number of centrifuges used for enriching uranium and reduced its stockpiles of the material.

The Israeli premier has repeatedly called for the deal — which Iran signed with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States — to be either altered or scrapped.

Netanyahu did not present evidence on Monday that Iran had actively worked to obtain an atomic weapon since the 2015 agreement and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) considers the country to be complying.

The UN’s nuclear watchdog reiterated Tuesday that it had “no credible indications of activities in Iran relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device after 2009.”

A spokesman for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement that its board of governors had “declared that its consideration of this issue was closed” after it was presented with a report in December 2015.

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