Iran hits back at Israel over nuclear claim

Mr Netanyahu (left) and Mr Zarif

Mr Netanyahu (left) and Mr Zarif

Iran has called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “an infamous liar” over allegations he made about a secret Iranian nuclear weapons programme.
Mr Netanyahu’s revelations have split Western powers, days before the US is due to decide on whether to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
France said some of the information had been disclosed in 2002, and stressed the importance of continuing the deal.
The US, however, said it was proof it had not been built on good faith.
US President Donald Trump, who opposes the accord, has until May 12 to decide whether to abandon it or not.
Other signataries to the deal, including the UK and France, say Iran has been abiding by it and it should be kept.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said allegations by Mr Netanyahu that Tehran had lied about its nuclear ambitions were “worn-out, useless and shameful”.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif earlier said it was a move by Mr Netanyahu to influence Mr Trump’s decision on whether the US should stick with the nuclear deal.
He said the documents were a rehash of old allegations already dealt with by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has been tasked with investigating Iran’s nuclear past.
It failed to directly address Mr Netanyahu’s accusations but referred to an agency report from 2015 which had found some activities in 2003 “relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device”.
But it also said the same report had “no credible indications of activities in Iran relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device after 2009″.
Mr Netanyahu on Monday presented what he said was evidence of thousands of “secret nuclear files” that showed Iran had lied about its nuclear ambitions before the deal was signed in 2015.
He accused Iran of conducting a secret nuclear weapons programme, dubbed Project Amad, and said it had continued to pursue nuclear weapons knowledge after the project was shuttered in 2003.
That followed the revelation in 2002 by an exiled Iranian opposition group that Iran was constructing secret nuclear sites in breach of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, of which Iran was a signatory.
Tension between the long-standing enemies has grown steadily since Iran built up its military presence in Syria, which lies to the north-east of Israel.
Iran has always denied seeking nuclear weapons, and agreed three years ago to curb its nuclear energy programme in return for the lifting of sanctions.
The Israeli leader did not provide evidence that Iran had violated the accord since it went into effect in early 2016. -BBC

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