Israel says it has briefed 22 countries on smuggled Iran nuclear archive

Netanyahu expected to present Russian president with intelligence grabbed by Mossad to make case against nuke deal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exposes stolen files on Iran's nuclear program in a press conference in Tel Aviv, on April 30, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exposes stolen files on Iran's nuclear program in a press conference in Tel Aviv, on April 30, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabat said Tuesday that Israel has briefed 22 nations on the nuclear archive it smuggled out of Tehran earlier this year, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sought to garner more support for renewed international pressure on Iran.

Last week, Netanyahu revealed that Israeli spies had smuggled out of Iran some 100,000 archived documents and files detailing Tehran’s nuclear weapons ambitions and research in the years prior to the signing of the deal.

On Friday, Netanyahu’s office said he personally briefed Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and British Prime Minister Theresa May on the Mossad findings. The Israeli leader earlier in the week similarly briefed French President Emmanuel Macron, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu is slated to travel to Moscow, where he will show the documents to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabat. (Amos Ben Gerschom/GPO)

Speaking alongside Ben-Shabat ahead of his return flight from a trilateral Cypriot-Greek-Israeli summit in Cyprus, Netanyahu said that Israel “is not looking for escalation, but is preparing for any scenario.”

“Iran is trying to change the status quo, according to which it does not deploy its army to Syria, and they are declaring the purpose [of the military deployment]. It’s not Islamic State,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu and Ben Shabat’s remarks came hours before US President Donald Trump was due to announce weather he would pull the US out of the 2015 nuclear agreement reached between Iran and six world powers.

US President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn upon his return to the White House in Washington from Cleveland, Ohio, on May 5, 2018. (YURI GRIPAS/AP)

Trump is widely expected to ignore last-ditch European pleas to preserve the accord and withdraw US support for what he has repeatedly slammed as a “very badly negotiated” agreement.

After Netanyahu gave his PowerPoint presentation detailing the trove of Iranian documents, Trump said they proved he was “100 percent right” in his skepticism and antipathy to the deal.

According to the Washington Post, Trump will use the Israeli intelligence revealed by Netanyahu in his announcement scheduled for 2 p.m. Washington time (9 p.m. Israel time) on Tuesday to justify withdrawing from the Obama-era accord.

Critics have warned that ending the sanction waivers would unravel the carefully constructed deal, plunge Iran’s already struggling economy into crisis, spur a Middle East arms race, and expose the biggest transatlantic rift since the Iraq War.

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