Israel claims UN ignored intel on secret Iran nuke sites — report

Officials said to accuse IAEA of failing to act on information it received detailing forbidden nuclear military R&D being carried out at several facilities

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures during a press conference with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (out of frame), at the Los Pinos Residence in Mexico City, on September 14, 2017. (AFP/ Alfredo ESTRELLA)
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures during a press conference with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto (out of frame), at the Los Pinos Residence in Mexico City, on September 14, 2017. (AFP/ Alfredo ESTRELLA)

Israeli officials have reportedly accused the UN body tasked with ensuring Tehran’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal of ignoring information it received detailing forbidden nuclear military research and development being carried out at several sites across Iran.

The officials said that “a Western entity” told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of sites that Iran failed to disclose under the deal — which offered Iran relief from punishing sanctions in exchange for having it roll back its nuclear program — but the body failed to investigate or carry our inspections at the locations, Haaretz reported Sunday.

“There is a whole list of suspicious sites where the Iranians do not allow inspectors to visit and no one enforces the supervision mechanisms established in the nuclear agreement,” the report quoted the officials as saying. “There is simply a demonstration of weakness in the IAEA when it comes to Iran. The sense is that Iran allows what it wants, and does not allow what it does not want.”

Iran’s heavy-water nuclear facility, with mountains in its background, near the central city of Arak, Iran, on January 15, 2011. (AP/ISNA, Hamid Foroutan, File)

In force since January 16, 2016, the JCPOA provides for international monitoring of Tehran’s nuclear program to ensure its purely peaceful, civilian use. In exchange, Tehran was promised the gradual lifting of the international sanctions that have strangled the Iranian economy for years.

But the Israeli officials reportedly said that due to either Iran’s refusal to grant entry or reluctance to confront the Islamic Republic, the facilities reported to the IAEA went largely unchecked.

“When it comes to visits to suspicious sites, the agreement is not implemented. There are almost no visits and visitors are not allowed to visit. In this context, the agreement is not being realized in spirit and word,” they were reported to have said.

US President Donald Trump speaking with members of Congress at the White House, September 5, 2017. (Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty Images)

Last week, Donald Trump slammed Iran for violating “the spirit” of the deal, weeks before the US president must decide whether to stick by the agreement.

“The Iran deal is one of the worst deals I’ve ever seen, certainly at a minimum the spirit of the deal is atrociously kept,” Trump said aboard Air Force One.

“The Iran deal is not a fair deal to this country. It’s a deal that should not have ever been made,” he added, tearing into the Obama-era accord.

The United States on Thursday agreed to continue for now to exempt Iran from nuclear-related sanctions but slapped new measures against targets accused of cyber attacks or fomenting militancy.

“We are not going to stand what they are doing with our country. They’ve violated so many different elements and they’ve also violated the spirit of that deal,” Trump said.

On October 15, Trump is due to decide whether Iran has breached the 2015 nuclear agreement, and critics fear he may abandon an accord they think prevents Tehran from building a nuclear bomb.

But the president would not be drawn on whether he has already made a decision.

Iran’s heavy water nuclear facilities near the central city of Arak. (CC-BY-SA 3.0/Wikimedia/Nanking2012)

Critics say Trump abandoning the deal would pave the way for Iran to resume nuclear enrichment and would send a signal to North Korea and other proliferators that a diplomatic solution can be scrapped at the president’s whim.

Israel wants the deal to be amended or canceled altogether, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last Tuesday. Speaking in Argentina, Netanyahu rejected recent reports claiming that Israel and Saudi Arabia are no longer interested in scrapping the landmark deal.

“In the case of Iran, there have been some news stories about Israel’s purported position on the nuclear deal with Iran. So let me take this opportunity and clarify: Our position is straightforward. This is a bad deal. Either fix it — or cancel it. This is Israel’s position,” said Netanyahu.

Yossi Cohen, Mossad chief, speaks at a committee meeting in the Knesset on December 2, 2015. (Miriam Alster/Flash90/File)

Mossad chief Yossi Cohen is leading Israel’s “hawkish line” on Iran, calling for immediate action to ensure that Tehran cannot attain the bomb, an Israeli TV report said Sunday.

The report comes as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to address the United Nations General Assembly with his focus to again be on confronting Iran.

Channel 2 on Sunday paraphrased Cohen as asserting that “Today’s Iran is the North Korea of yesterday, and so we need to act now so that we don’t wake up to [an Iranian] bomb.”

Other Israeli security officials, the report said, however, are warning that Israel should not be pushing the US into another Middle Eastern adventure, given what happened when the US tackled Iraq and Saddam’s ostensible weapons of mass destruction over a decade ago.

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