Claims by Israel and the US that Iran “lied” about its nuclear programme have caused international disagreement.
Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said “half a ton” of secret Iranian documents obtained in a “great intelligence achievement” by his government showed Iran was “brazenly lying” when it said it never had a nuclear weapons programme.
After signing a deal in 2015, Iran was obliged to limit its nuclear energy programme, amid fears the country could use the technology to make a nuclear weapon. Economic sanctions were lifted in return. Iran has denied ever seeking nuclear weapons.
Mr Netanyahu claimed Iran did not honour the agreement and instead intensified its efforts to hide secret files after signing the deal.
Some intelligence experts and diplomats said the presentation did not seem to have a “smoking gun” showing a violation – but could strengthen the hand of those around Donald Trump who want to scrap the nuclear agreement.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had “personally reviewed many of the Iranian files”.
They showed that Iran “had a secret nuclear weapons program for years”, he added.
“What this means is the deal was not constructed on a foundation of good faith or transparency. It was built on Iran’s lies,” Mr Pompeo said.
Mr Trump described a presentation from Mr Netanyahu as “good” and said Iran’s behaviour was “just not an acceptable situation”.
The US President has set a 12 May deadline to decide whether to pull out of the deal.
But in what it called a “clerical error”, the US appeared to soften its rhetoric.
In a statement sent to reporters, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders initially said the Iranian documents were “consistent with what the United States has long known: Iran has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons programme”.
It later changed “has” a programme to “had”.
The views of Israel and the US are at odds with those of the UK and EU.
A British Government spokesman said the 2015 agreement remained a “vitally important way of independently verifying that Iran’s nuclear programme is exclusively peaceful”.
“That is why the IAEA inspection regime agreed as part of the Iran nuclear deal is one of the most extensive and robust in the history of international nuclear accords,” he added.
The European Union’s foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, said: “What I have seen from the first reports is that Prime Minister Netanyahu has not put into question Iran’s compliance.”
Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, said Mr Netanyahu’s allegations were old and had already been dealt with by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Mr Zarif tweeted: “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.”
He added: “Trump is jumping on a rehash of old allegations already dealt with by the IAEA to “nix” the deal.
“How convenient. Co-ordinated timing of alleged intelligence revelations by the boy who cries wolf just days before May 12. But Trump’s impetuousness to celebrate blew the cover.”
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused Washington of trying to stoke a “regional crisis”.
“Americans are trying to provoke Saudi Arabia against Tehran,” he said.
“Their aim is to create more regional crisis… to push Muslims to fight against Muslims.
“If these governments gain more wisdom, they will not confront Iran. If they confront Iran, they will be defeated.”
Mr Netanyahu’s statement came after a missile strike on government outposts in northern Syria on Sunday night, which reportedly killed several Iranians.
The strikes sparked speculation that Israel may have carried them out amid soaring tensions with Iran.
From – SkyNews