Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday accused Iran of stealing a report from the UN’s internal nuclear watchdog, in a bid to pave the way for an investigation into its nuclear program.
Neither Tehran nor the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) immediately responded to requests for comment on the allegations, which appear to be part of an Israeli campaign to discourage major powers from renewing Iran’s nuclear deal in 2015 at the now-stalled Vienna talks.
“Iran has stolen classified (IAEA) documents … and used that information to systematically avoid nuclear investigations,” Bennett said in a social media post containing a selection of alleged stolen files, some of which have been translated into English.
“How do we know? Because we got our hands on Iran’s deception plan.”
An aide to Bennett said the latest claim refers to the publication of Israeli spies in 2018 which they said were related to a secret archive of documents seized in Iran and its nuclear projects. Tehran has called the so-called “nuclear arsenal” a sham.
“Sooner or later they (the IAEA) will ask us and we will have a comprehensive cover story for them,” Bennett wrote in the indictment, quoting an Iranian defense official.
Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful. Israel, Washington and the IAEA have long made it clear that they believe Iran had a comprehensive nuclear weapons program until 2003.
The IAEA has spent more than a decade investigating Iran’s past activities, and is now seeking answers from Iran on the origins of uranium particles found in three undisclosed locations.
Separately, the United States and five other powers have held talks with Iran on renewing the 2015 agreement that former US President Donald Trump abandoned, deeming it inadequate.
Israel is not a party to the talks but has some dominance over foreign powers. “We are saying: this is not a good agreement and no catastrophe will happen if it is not signed,” Israeli Foreign Minister Yar Lapid told Tel Aviv radio station 103 FM.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)