WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has reportedly told Israel that it will lean on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to examine findings Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented to the world earlier this year that outline Iran’s attempts to build a nuclear arsenal.
According to a report Monday in Axios, State Department officials have said that Washington will pressure the nuclear watchdog to examine the trove of documents that Mossad agents extracted on a covert mission in January.
US Special Envoy Brian Hook visited Israel two weeks ago and, in a meeting with Israeli officials, was told that the IAEA was “dragging its feet” over Israel’s revelations, Axios reported.
Moreover, the political director of the foreign ministry, Alon Ushpiz, was angry that Israeli intelligence was not being taken seriously.
Hook reportedly responded by saying the Trump administration would pressure the agency to look into the disclosures, with State Department officials saying that America’s new ambassador to the IAEA, Jackie Wolcott, would “work aggressively to make sure the IAEA seriously addresses all information provided by Israel, the US and other countries regarding the Iranian nuclear program.”
A State Department official contacted by The Times of Israel neither confirmed nor denied the Axios report. “We don’t comment on the details of diplomatic conversations,” that official said.
The Islamic Republic has never admitted to seeking a bomb, but Netanyahu attempted to ignite outrage and galvanize the international community into action when he said “Iran lied” to the world, while revealing that Mossad agents had unearthed Iran’s nuclear archives, which showed a long history of trying to build a bomb, going as far back as 2003.
Proponents of the Iran deal were unmoved by the documents, which they said affirmed the assumption behind the landmark pact — that Iran had sought nuclear weapons and an agreement was needed to curtail its path to the bomb.
Netanyahu’s presentation came as US President Donald Trump faced a deadline to keep America as a party to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the deal is formally known.
Both Trump and Netanyahu had harshly criticized the deal, taking aim at its “sunset” clauses and saying it did not address Iran’s ballistic missile program or involvement in numerous regional conflicts.
Trump, days later, withdrew the United States from the accord.