Iran’s top officials have bristled at the Israeli prime minister’s allegations that Tehran secretly pursued a nuclear weapons programme, dismissing them as “lies” aimed at influencing US President Donald Trump ahead of a crucial deadline for the fate of the Iran nuclear deal.
Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said on Tuesday that Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech was a “repetition” of past accusations, which the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has already disproven.
“Netanyahu is trying to affect Trump’s upcoming decision about the Iranian 2015 international nuclear deal, or JCPOA, but, Tehran is prepared for any scenario by Trump,” Araghchi was quoted by Iran’s Mehr news agency as saying.
BahramGhasemi, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, also denounced Netanyahu’s “propaganda” show on Tuesday, saying he had “nothing to offer but a pack of lies”, according to Mehr news.
In a statement on Wednesday, the IAEA said that the agency found “no credible indications of activities in Iran relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device after 2009”.
IAEA noted, however, that “before the end of 2003, an organisational structure was in place in Iran suitable for the coordination of a range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device”.
It said the the activities “did not advance beyond feasibility and scientific studies, and the acquisition of certain relevant technical competences and capabilties”.
Trump faces a May 12 deadline to decide whether to keep the US commitment to the nuclear deal – renew the agreement’s prescribed sanctions relief for Iran – or withdraw from it.
Following Netanyahu’s speech, Iranian Foreign Minister JavadZarif described the Israeli prime minister as the “boy who cries wolf”, adding that his presentation had been “coordinated” to effect Trump’s May 12 decision.
Netanyahu’s speech came against a backdrop of sustained efforts by the Trump administration and its allies at home and in the Middle East to cancel, or at least renegotiate, the 2015 nuclear pact signed between Iran and the US, France, Russia, Germany, China, the UK and the European Union.
The Israeli leader has been a leading critic of the agreement, saying it fails to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons capability.
Following Netanyahu’s speech, the White House issued a statement calling it “compelling”, even as the European Union (EU) pushed back, saying Iran has not violated the terms of the 2015 deal.
“These facts are consistent with what the United States has long known: Iran had a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons programme that it has tried and failed to hide from the world and from its own people,” the statement said.
In a press conference with Nigeria’s President MuhammaduBuhari, Trump also said that “what’s happening today, and what’s happening in the last little while, and what we’ve learned has really shown that I’ve been 100 percent right”.
Source – BBC/ AL- JAZEERA