The Israeli Mossad (intelligence service) discovered the existence of a secret warehouse in Iran where hundreds of thousands of files were stored documenting Iran’s secret nuclear weapons’ program. The Iranians have consistently denied the existence of such a program.
In a bombshell speech (in English), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that, in a daring operation, half a ton of those files were brought to Israel – 55,000 pages of documentation and another 55,000 pages stored on 183 compact disks.
Watch Netanyahu’s speech:
The U.S. has verified the authenticity of the documents in the files, according to an official quoted in The Washington Free Beacon.
The official also stated that the State Department also commented, “New details in this information are consistent with a large body of evidence and intelligence the U.S. government has amassed over many years on Iran’s past clandestine nuclear weapons program.”
In response to the revelations, U.S. President Donald Trump said, “That is just not an acceptable situation … [The Iranians] have been setting off missiles they say are for television purposes. I don’t think so.”
The files verify the existence of Iran’s secret nuclear weapons program, which has been denied again and again by the highest Iranian authorities – from the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei to President Hassan Rouhani. As late as last week, on April 22, 2018, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Zarif said, “We never wanted to produce a bomb.”
The nuclear weapons program – called Project Amad – was active between the years of 1999-2003 and directed by Dr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. According to the documents themselves, the goal of the program was to “design, produce and test five warheads each with 10 kiloton TNT yield for integration on a missile.”
Netanyahu noted that these five warheads amounted to the equivalent of five Hiroshima-sized bombs delivered on ballistic missiles.
Pressure after the Gulf War forced Iran to officially shelve Project Amad, but in reality, the files show that the program continued to be developed clandestinely.
“Following the new directive of Iran’s Minister of Defense … the work would be split into two parts: covert and overt,” one of the documents stated.
Specifically, “special activities will be carried out under the title of scientific knowhow development.”
Those “special activities” are currently being carried out inside Iran’s defense ministry by the “SPND unit.” The unit is directed by Fakhrizadeh himself, the the former head of Project Amad. In addition, many of SPND’s key personnel who worked under Fakhrizadeh on Project Amad are also employed in the SPND unit.
One of conditions of the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers was that Iran was required to disclose any previous nuclear weapons program to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
In December of 2015, when the IAEA published its final assessment of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the documents show that Iran blatantly lied the agency by
- denying the existence of a coordinated program aimed at the development of nuclear explosive devices
- denying work on MPI (Multi-Point Initiation) technology and hemispherical geometry (both necessary components of nuclear weapons)
- Denying metallurgical work specifically designed for a nuclear devices
Moreover, Iran insisted, as a condition for the nuclear deal, that their Fordow facility – a secret underground uranium enrichment plant — be kept open.
The documents show that Fordow was designed from the beginning as part of Project Amad. Moreover, the Iranians continued to build Fordow years after it officially closed Project Amad.
“You don’t put centrifuges under a mountain in order to create medical isotopes. You do it to create nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu stated.
The documents were kept in safes in an unassuming and dilapidated warehouse in the Shorabad district in Tehran. Netanyahu commented on the reason why Iran stored the documents, asking rhetorically, “Why would a terrorist regime hide and meticulously catalogue its secret nuclear files if not to use them at a later date?”
The files documenting Project Amad showed that Iran had extensively researched all five crucial elements of building nuclear weapons:
- Developing nuclear cores (the files also contained videos from secret underground facilities where cores were being developed)
- Building nuclear implosion systems
- Preparing nuclear tests (including maps of test locations)
- Integrating nuclear warheads on missiles
The revelations from Israel come just over a week before the May 12 deadline when U.S. President Trump will have to decide whether or not to scrap or amend the program.
At a press conference, Trump said, “This is an agreement that wasn’t approved by too many people. And it’s a horrible agreement for the United States, including the fact … that we gave Iran $150 billion dollars and $1.8 billion in cash.”
Trump also said he had not precluded “negotiating a real agreement.”
Just before Israel revealed the files on Monday, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi seemed to hedge Iran’s bets with the U.S. in a face-saving measure.
“The Iran nuclear deal is no longer sustainable for Iran in its present form, without regard to a U.S. exit,” Araghchi said, as quoted by ISNA (Iranian Students News Agency).
He added that Iran is “preparing all necessary options for any scenario.”