Netanyahu to announce ‘significant’ new info on Iran’s nuclear program
Opposition withdraws no-confidence vote amid tensions

Netanyahu to announce ‘significant’ new info on Iran’s nuclear program

PM to speak, in English, at 8pm; TV reports say he’ll reveal intel proving Tehran is not adhering to accord with world powers; Iranian FM: ‘The boy who cried wolf is at it again’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, on April 29, 2018. (Amit Shabi/Pool/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, on April 29, 2018. (Amit Shabi/Pool/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will announce a “significant development” regarding Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers in a live speech at 8 p.m. Monday, his office said.

Netanyahu will give the statement at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv.

According to Hadashot news and Channel 10 news, Netanyahu will reveal intelligence information, based on a large cache of documents recently obtained by Israel, which he believes proves Iran has duped the world regarding the state of its nuclear program.

Channel 10 reported that Netanyahu will speak in English, in order for the announcement to reach a worldwide audience.

Ahead of his remarks, Netanyahu cancelled a speech he was to make at the Knesset and his Likud party called off its weekly faction meeting due to the security tensions. The opposition Zionist Union and Yesh Atid parties withdrew their proposed no-confidence vote in the government. Given the “sensitive” security situation, it was appropriate to “show a unified front,” said Zionist Union MK Yoel Hasson.

On Twitter, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said ahead of Netanyahu’s remarks: “The boy who can’t stop crying wolf is at it again… You can only fool some of the people so many times.”

Earlier Monday, Netanyahu convened an unscheduled meeting of Israel’s decision-making security cabinet at the Defense Ministry HQ. Hadashot said he briefed ministers on the intelligence info.

Netanyahu’s announcement will come a day after he met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said US President Donald Trump will withdraw from the nuclear accord on May 12 barring significant changes. Netanyahu reportedly also discussed the intelligence material with the secretary.

Both Trump and Netanyahu have harshly criticized the 2015 nuclear deal, taking aim at its “sunset” clauses and saying it does not address Iran’s ballistic missile program or involvement in numerous regional conflicts.

The premier also spoke with Trump by phone Sunday, with the White House saying the two discussed Iran’s “destabilizing activities” in the region.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) is seen with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of a press conference at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv on April 29, 2018. (AFP Photo/Thomas Coex)

Former US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said on Twitter: “Obviously, Netanyahu’s announcement tonight on the Iranian nuclear program is fully coordinated with the US side. The call with Trump yesterday and Pompeo’s visit would have locked it in.”

The imminent Netanyahu announcement also comes after an airstrike in Syria early Monday, attributed by some to Israel. The strike destroyed some 200 surface-to-surface missiles and killed 16 people, including 11 Iranians, according to a New York Times report.

Iran denied that any of its soldiers were killed or that its bases had been targeted in the raids, although Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei later warned the Islamic Republic’s foes they will be “hit multiple times” if they attack Iran.

That attack came after an earlier airstrike this month on an Iranian military facility in Syria that was blamed on Israel, in which Iran acknowledged seven of its soldiers were killed and vowed to respond to the attack.

Screen capture from video purporting to show a missile strike in Syria, April 29, 2018. (Twitter)

In the wake of Iran’s warning, Israeli officials have informed the United States and Russia that Israel will respond to any attack from Syria by Iran or its proxies, the Haaretz daily reported Monday.

According to the officials quoted by the newspaper, Israel could launch a widespread attack on Iranian sites in Syria if attacked, with the main targets being bases established by Tehran for weapons transfer and storage.

The report said the extent of a response by Israel to any attack on its territory by Iran or its proxies has been debated recently in Israeli political and security circles, with political elements favoring attacking targets in Iran itself, while the security establishment opposes expanding the battlefield against the Islamic Republic.

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