Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday during a speech before the United Nations in New York that Iran maintains what he called an “atomic warehouse” full of materials and equipment related to the country’s nuclear program in the capital of Tehran.
During his speech, the PM declassified details about the contents of the facility while warning that Iran was currently in the process of clearing it out after he revealed in April that his country had conducted a special operations raid of a nearby nuclear archive facility.
“The [International Atomic Energy Agency] still has not taken any action. It has not posed a single question of Iran. It has not demanded to inspect a single new site discovered in that secret archive,” Netanyahu said. “So I decided to reveal today something else that we revealed to the IAEA and to other intelligence agencies.”
The PM brought maps and photographs of the nondescript building he said was situated next to a rug cleaning facility. He said Iranian officials have already taken 15 kilograms of radioactive material out of the building.
“They had to get it out of the site, so they took it out and they spread it around Tehran in an effort to hide the evidence,” Netanyahu said, adding that it was possible Iranian citizens were now at risk of being exposed to radiation.
In presenting his material, Netanyahu demanded that the IAEA conduct inspections of the facility before the Iranian government moves everything out while ridiculing the agency’s claim that it has “anytime, anywhere” inspection authority under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal brokered by the U.S. and signed by other nations.
“Israel knows what you’re doing, and Israel knows where you’re doing it,” he said in a comment directed at the Iranians. “What Iran hides, Israel will find. How about inspections right here, right now?”
Analysis: Without question, Israeli intelligence is living up to its usual high standards, having found this facility in the first place. And obviously, Netanyahu was using his address as an opportunity to both publicize (again) the existence of the facility while shaming the UN into acting on the information.
But getting the United Nations to act is a bridge too far, and Netanyahu very likely knows and understands that. His objective, then, was to put the world body on notice that it is failing, again, to live up to expectations and that Israel will always assert its right to exist and to act in its own interests if need be.
Also, Netanyahu was taking the opportunity to inform Iran’s European partners and some say enablers that by their actions they are aiding and abetting nuclear proliferation within a country that has a history of supporting terrorists and terrorism.
“I just used a strong word: appeasement,” Netanyahu said. “Unfortunately, that’s exactly what we’re seeing again in Europe.”
“Have these European leaders learned nothing from history?” he asked. “Will they ever wake up?”
Unfortunately, the answer is most probably ‘no.’ After seeing the continent destroyed twice during the 20th century, most European leaders have no appetite to see it destroyed a third time — not that Iran is capable of it, mind you. It’s just that most EU leaders are risk- and conflict-averse, and, therefore, will appease rather than confront.