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Iran is developing nuclear weapons, Israel PM says at dramatic press conference

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Iran has been developing nuclear weapons at a secret site which it then destroyed in order to hide evidence, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

According to DailyMail, Netanyahu revealed the existence of the site, which he said is located at Abadeh in central Iran, during a dramatic press conference on Monday.

Pointing to satellite images of the compound, in the central Iranian town of Abadeh, he said Israel uncovered its existence in nuclear archives captured from Iran.

It began watching the site, which Netanyahu said was used to conduct experiments relating to Iran’s nuclear weapons programme.

Some time between late June and late July this year, Iran learned that Israel was watching the site and destroyed it in order to cover its tracks, Netanyahu said.

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He added that satellite photos showing the compound before and after its destruction are evidence of a ‘consistent pattern of Iranian lies and deceptions’ around its nuclear programme.

He told reporters: ‘This is what I have to say to the tyrants of Tehran.

“Israel knows what you’re doing, Israel knows when you’re doing it, and Israel knows where you’re doing it.”

He then called on world leaders to join President Trump in imposing sanctions on the regime.

There was no immediate reaction from Iran.

Netanyahu, who is about to fight his second general election this year after the first failed to produce a clear victor, added: ‘Our message to Iran is: Israel knows what you’re doing, Israel knows when you’re doing it, and Israel knows where you are doing it.

“The only way to stop Iran’s march to the bomb is pressure, pressure and more pressure.”

It comes after Israel revealed the existence of another site which it said was being used by Iran as part of its nuclear programme, before inspectors from the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) detected traces of uranium there.

Tehran has yet to explain the presence of uranium at the site, MailOnline reported.

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The IAEA on Monday told Tehran there is no time to waste in answering its questions, which diplomats say include how traces of uranium were found at a site that was not declared to the agency.

It also said Iran was starting to follow through on its pledge last week to further breach its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, this time installing more advanced centrifuges and moving towards enriching uranium with them, which the deal bans.

And the latest discoveries follows a previous discovery of a ‘secret atomic warehouse’ in Tehran, the Iranian capital, in September last year.

He said the site contained 15kg (33 pounds) of radioactive material which was then moved, although the existence of the facility was denied by Iran.

Last year, President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the nuclear agreement and re-imposed sanctions on Iran.

The deal has steadily unravelled since then and caused tensions to heighten across the Persian Gulf and broader Middle East.

Diplomats say Iran has yet to explain to the International Atomic Energy Agency how the uranium particles ended up at what Tehran has said was a carpet-cleaning facility.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who vehemently opposes Iran’s nuclear deal with major powers, first pointed to the site last year, calling it a ‘secret atomic warehouse’ and saying it had housed unspecified radioactive material that had since been removed.

Details of IAEA inspections are confidential and the agency generally does not comment on them.

But the IAEA’s acting chief made clear that in meetings in Tehran on Sunday he pushed Iran to improve cooperation with the U.N. non-proliferation watchdog.

“Time is of the essence,” Cornel Feruta, who took over as IAEA chief in an acting capacity after the death of his boss Yukiya Amano in July, told a news conference during a quarterly IAEA Board of Governors meeting.

“I think that was a message very well understood,” he said of his meetings with officials including Iran’s foreign minister and its nuclear energy chief.

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The IAEA has told member states that Iran has had two months to answer its questions, though it has only given a very general description of the issue because it is confidential, diplomats who attended a briefing by its inspections chief last week said.

At the same time, the Vienna-based IAEA has not yet sounded the alarm because such questions are part of a painstaking process that can often take many months.

“We are very, let’s say rigorous, meticulous and we are faithful to our mandate,” Feruta said, without going into specifics.

Netanyahu’s latest statement comes just days ahead of Israel’s September 17 polls in which he is facing a difficult re-election campaign and opponents accused him of politicising intelligence with the presentation.

“Netanyahu is again using intelligence information for his election propaganda,” Yair Lapid of the centrist Blue and White alliance said on Twitter.

“The Iranian nuclear (issue) cannot be used for campaign antics.”


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