Iran rejects Netanyahu's claim of a secret atomic warehouse as 'arts & craft show'

Israeli prime minister made the allegation in a speech to world leaders at the UN

Peter Stubley
Friday 28 September 2018 18:42
Iran rejects Netanyahu's claim of a secret atomic warehouse as 'arts & craft show'

Iran has described allegations it is hiding a secret atomic warehouse as “an arts and crafts show” made up of photographs from Google Street View.

The official response came after Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the UN General Assembly that nuclear equipment was being kept near a rug-cleaning business on the outskirts of Tehran.

During his presentation to world leaders on Thursday, Mr Netanyahu held up a poster-board map of the area as he claimed Iranian officials had recently cleared out 15kg of material from the site and “spread it around”.

Mr Netanyahu called on the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect the site using Geiger counters and urged European countries to abandon the 2015 deal with Iran.

“I am disclosing for the first time that Iran has another secret facility in Tehran, a secret atomic warehouse for storing massive amounts of equipment and materiel from Iran’s secret nuclear program,” he said.

“Why did Iran keep a secret atomic archive and a secret atomic warehouse?” Mr Netanyahu asked. “What Iran hides, Israel will find.”

Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described it as an “obscene charge” and called Netanyahu a “liar who would not stop lying.”

“No arts and craft show will ever obfuscate that Israel is only regime in our region with a *secret* and *undeclared* nuclear weapons program – including an *actual atomic arsenal*”, he tweeted.

“Time for Israel to fess up and open its illegal nuclear weapons program to international inspectors.”

The Iranian representative at the UN said in a rebuttal statement that the Israeli prime minister had a “pathological tendency to tell monstrous lies and distort reality.”

“Exhibiting some photographs of Google Street View, today the Israeli showman claimed that he discovered new nuclear facilities in Iran,” the official added. ”This is yet another false story.”

Mr Netanyahu also accused European leaders of “appeasing Iran” by helping it bypass new sanctions imposed by US president Donald Trump.

“Does anyone seriously believe that flooding Iran’s theocracy with weapons and cash will curb its appetite for aggression?” Mr Netanyahu asked.

“Have these European leaders learned nothing from history? Will they ever wake up?”

Four months ago Israel announced that its intelligence officers had obtained a “half-ton” of Iranian nuclear documents in the Shourabad neighborhood near Tehran.

Israel claimed the documents proved that Iran covered up its nuclear weapons program before signing the 2015 agreement, which loosened sanctions crippling the country’s economy.

In 2012 Mr Netanyahu held up a cartoon picture of a bomb while discussing Iran’s nuclear program before saying ”a red line should be drawn right here” as he added a red line using a marker pen.

Additional reporting by Reuters and Associated Press

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