- Speaking mostly in Hebrew, Mr. Netanyahu said that Iran destroyed the facility, and the evidence therein, once it had been discovered by Israeli intelligence.
- In response, the Iranian Foreign Minister has rejected Mr. Netanyahu's claim.
- Mr. Netanyahu's press conference came a day after Reuters news agency reported that international inspectors found traces of uranium particles at a previously-unexplained site in Turquzabad.
At a news conference on Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel had learned of an Iranian “covert nuclear facility” in Abadeh, Fars province. Iran has rejected his recent remarks. The Israeli prime minister said Iran had carried out “tests for the development of nuclear weapons” at the facility for military purposes.
Speaking mostly in Hebrew, Mr. Netanyahu said that Iran destroyed the facility, and the evidence therein, once it had been discovered by Israeli intelligence. The first photo, from June, shows the facility safe. The second photo, which Netanyahu claims was taken in July, show parts of the building demolished, which he said it was an attempt to hide the facility after Israel discovered it. “Israel knows what you are doing. When and where you do it,” the Israeli Prime Minister told Iranian officials. “We will expose your lies and will not allow you to produce nuclear weapons,” Mr Netanyahu told Iran.
In response, the Iranian Foreign Minister has rejected Mr. Netanyahu’s claim. Iran says it has “no covert nuclear activities.” Iran has repeatedly stated that it does not intend to use nuclear energy for military purposes, and does not intend to build a nuclear weapon. Abadeh is a small town in Fars province known for carpet weaving.
This is the first time Mr. Netanyahu has shown pictures alleging the Iranian government is developing covert nuclear facilities. Mr. Netanyahu’s press conference came a day after Reuters news agency reported that international inspectors found traces of uranium particles at a previously-unexplained site in Turquzabad. Mr. Netanyahu described the site as a “secret nuclear stockpile,” Iran calls it a carpet-cleaning facility. Diplomats told Reuters that what was discovered was still far from the purity needed to build a nuclear bomb, and that Iran had not yet provided the IAEA with a sample of the material, so its source was not easy to determine.
In a speech last September, Mr Netanyahu, who strongly opposed the Iran nuclear deal, claimed that Iran had removed two kilograms of radioactive material from a facility and distributed it to various parts of Tehran. Mr Netanyahu showed a map of Tehran and a photograph of a building in Turquzabad, south of Tehran, at the United Nations General Assembly, and said the images show the location of a new secret facility in Iran.
The Israeli Prime Minister’s briefing came hours after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a statement that Iran had begun installing more advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium, an act that is prohibited by the law. Cornel Feruta, acting director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, traveled to Iran yesterday. “The inspectors’ efforts to determine nuclear materials continues and the agency is monitoring very closely,” Feruta told reporters in Vienna, Austria, today.