Middle East

Netanyahu: Iran deceiving the world about nuclear accord

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech on Iran's nuclear programme at the defence ministry in Tel Aviv on 30 April 2018 (AFP)

In a speech on Monday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country had “conclusive proof" about Iran violating the terms of an international nuclear agreement.

Following an emergency meeting of the Israeli security cabinet, Netanyahu said that Israeli intelligence agency Mossad had uncovered evidence that Israel would share with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Unveiling a Powerpoint presentation on "Iranian lies and deceptions" in English, Netanyahu presented graphics and aerial photographs allegedly proving the existence of an Iranian plan entitled Amad aimed at developing nuclear missiles.

Netanyahu added that Iran had continued to expand said programme after 2015, and was "blatantly lying" about the programme's existence to the international community.

The Israeli premier has repeatedly called for a 2015 nuclear accord between world powers and Iran, Israels biggest rival, to either be altered or scrapped.

Netanyahu alleges the agreement does not prevent Iran from eventually obtaining nuclear weapons and says the lifting of sanctions has increased Tehran's ability to finance proxy militants in the Middle East.

US President Donald Trump is due to decide on May 12 whether to reimpose sanctions on Tehran, putting the 2015 accord in peril.

"I'm sure he (Trump) will do the right thing for the United States, for Israel, and for the peace of the world," Netanyahu said in his speech.

Ahead of Netanyahu's speech, Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Javad Zarif derided the Israeli PM's announcement, referring to Netanyahu's 2012 speech in front of the United Nations General Assembly, during which he presented a diagram of a bomb.

BREAKING: The boy who can't stop crying wolf is at it again. Undeterred by cartoon fiasco at UNGA. You can only fool some of the people so many times. pic.twitter.com/W7saODfZDK

— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) April 30, 2018

Trump has called the nuclear accord the worst deal ever negotiated, and threatened to reimpose the US penalties unless Britain, France and Germany can fix its "flaws". The deal lifted economic sanctions on Iran in return for curbing its nuclear programme.

Most world powers however say the nuclear deal is working as intended for now and is the best way to keep Iran from acquiring the bomb.

The accord was at the center of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to Israel on Sunday and a telephone conversation between Netanyahu and Trump on Saturday, during which Netanyahu reportedly shared the Mossad's findings with the American president.

Pompeo has warned that the United States will withdraw from the agreement "if we can't fix it".

Netanyahus speech comes shortly after missile attacks on Syrian government-held airbases reportedly struck several arms depots in Hama and the Aleppo countryside, including some holding surface-to-surface missiles that Iran was preparing to deploy.

According to a monitor, the missile strikes killed 26 pro-Syrian regime fighters, a majority of them Iranian.

Unnamed Iranian officials called reports of Iranian casualties in the attacks “baseless”, while the Israeli military said soon after the latest bombing raids that it did not comment on foreign reports.

However, the attacks, whose origins have yet to be confirmed, came after Israel bombed the T4 airbase in Syria in February and days after Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel would attack Iranian assets in Syria if they were deemed a threat.

Damascus and Tehran also accused Israel on 9 April of conducting deadly strikes against a military base in central Syria.

Original Article

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