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Israel PM publishes Iran intel documents alleging it spied on UN nuclear agency

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (C) in Jerusalem on 15 May 2022 [ABIR SULTAN/POOL/AFP/Getty Images]
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (C) in Jerusalem on 15 May 2022 [ABIR SULTAN/POOL/AFP/Getty Images]

Israeli Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, today published documents he claims were stolen from Iran, which allegedly show that Iranian intelligence spied on the United Nations' Atomic Agency.

After Iran's Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, was asked a question at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos last week regarding allegations of Iran spying on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), he stated that "unfortunately, the Zionists are spreading lots of lies".

The Israeli premier today posted a video on his Twitter account showing the Iranian Foreign Minister's comment, after which Bennett appears and says: "Spreading lies? Come on. I'm holding the proof of your lies right here in my hands" while holding up photocopies of the documents.

"You see, after Iran stole classified documents from the UN's Atomic Agency, Iran used that information to figure out what the Atomic Agency was hoping to find, and then created cover stories and hid evidence to evade their nuclear probes", he claimed.

"So how do we know this? Because we got our hands on Iran's deception plan a few years back. And it's right here in my hands," he stated, referring to an operation by Israeli agents in 2018, which saw them attain and steal hundreds of thousands of Iranian documents detailing the country's nuclear programme.

"Here it is, in the Persian language, hundreds of pages marked with the stamp of Iran's Ministry of Intelligence," Bennett said in the video. He afterwards posted a Google drive link containing the documents, which consist of IAEA documents allegedly stolen by Iran, false company registration papers and confidential Iranian intelligence papers regarding the Atomic Agency.

Although most of the documents bear official stamps, insignias, and signatures – as well as handwritten notes such as one written by Iran's Defence Minister to the now-assassinated top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh – it cannot be independently verified whether they are real or fabricated.

Report: Iran sent Israel images, maps of Israeli nuclear weapons stores

Bennett's video and apparent exposé comes a week after the Wall Street Journal published a report on the Iranian spying on the IAEA, based on the documents stolen by Tel Aviv. The report said then that it received access to those documents "from a Middle East intelligence agency that hails from a country that opposes Iran's nuclear program", which is now confirmed – unsurprisingly – to be Israel.

According to the WSJ report, the IAEA documents were accessed by Iranian officials and circulated amongst top officials involved in the country's nuclear program between 2004 and 2006. With that confidential information, they were then reportedly able to prepare cover stories, fabricate information and gain insights into what the Atomic Agency's inspectors were aware and unaware of.

More recently, the IAEA published its own report yesterday, in which it revealed suspected undeclared nuclear material found at three sites within Iran, stating that Tehran's stockpile of enriched uranium is now 18 times the limit set out in the 2015 nuclear deal.

Following the Agency's report, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, told reporters today that, "Unfortunately, this report does not reflect the reality of the negotiations between Iran and the IAEA." He insisted that "It's not a fair and balanced report … We expect this path to be corrected."

Khatibzadeh furthermore suggested that the IAEA could be under the influence of Tel Aviv, saying "It is feared that the pressure exerted by the Zionist regime and some other actors has caused the normal path of Agency reports to change from technical to political."

Amid the ongoing talks and negotiations between Iran and the signatories of the 2015 nuclear deal – or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – there are increasing concerns surrounding Tehran's renewed capacity to create nuclear weapons, with American and Israeli officials now assessing that it only requires a few weeks to amass a sufficient amount of fissile material for a nuclear bomb.

Despite the fact that Iran would still need additional time to assemble other components needed for such a weapon, that window of time is significantly narrower than earlier projections. Iran has consistently insisted, however, that it only seeks to attain nuclear capabilities for energy uses instead of military reasons.

Remember this: it will be Israel, not Iran, which destroys any new nuclear deal

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IAEAInternational OrganisationsIranIsraelMiddle EastNewsUN
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