Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday accused Iran of violating the international agreement that aimed to prevent the Islamic republic from building nuclear weapons.
Just days before President Trump will decide whether to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, Netanyahu presented what he called “proof” of a secret Iranian nuclear weapons program.
“Iran brazenly lied when it said it never had a nuclear weapons program,” Netanyahu said in English during a prime-time address to Israel and the rest of the world.
“We’ve known for years that Iran has had a secret nuclear weapons program,” he added, presenting slides of what he called Iran’s secret nuke files.
Netanyahu, who has repeatedly called for the accord between world powers and his country’s main enemy to either be altered or scrapped, gave a PowerPoint presentation live on TV.
He displayed maps, illustrations and animations that he said provide proof that Iran pursued a nuclear program.
Netanyahu — who spoke to Trump on the phone earlier Monday — described what he said are all five elements of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
“One hundred thousand files prove that Iran lied,” he said.
“You don’t put 1,000 centrifuges under a mountain to produce isotopes.”
Trump appears likely to pull out of the nuclear deal on May 12 — despite heavy pressure to stay in from European allies and other parties.
“I’m sure he’ll do the right thing for the United States, the right thing for Israel and the right thing for the peace of the word,” Netanyahu said.
“The Iran deal is based on Iranian lies and deception,” he added.
Before the surprise announcement, Netanyahu canceled a speech at parliament and convened an emergency meeting of his security cabinet at the military headquarters in Tel Aviv.
His statement came on the heels of a missile attack in northern Syria that killed at least 26 pro-government fighters, mostly Iranians, according to a Syria war monitoring group.
Israel had no comment on the strike, but there was widespread speculation that Israel was behind it.
Israel has said repeatedly it would not allow Iran to establish a permanent military presence in Syria.
Iran, which is backing the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has accused Israel of carrying out another airstrike in Syria this month that killed seven Iranian military advisers, and vowed revenge.
The White House said Trump and Netanyahu discussed the continuing threats and challenges facing the Middle East, “especially the problems posed by the Iranian regime’s destabilizing activities.”
On Sunday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ramped up the Trump administration’s rhetoric against Iran and offered warm support for Israel and Saudi Arabia in their standoff with Tehran.
“The United States is with Israel in this fight,” Pompeo said.
Also Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told French President Emmanuel Macron that the US had already breached the deal by repeatedly slamming it, CNN reported.
In a phone call Sunday, Macron and Rouhani agreed to work to preserve the agreement.
He also told Macron that the Iran deal is not negotiable, according to an Iranian statement obtained by the network.
According to Rouhani, Trump’s comments about the deal could hurt Iran’s economy and have created “fear and ambiguity” for different countries and businesses over their relations with Iran.
Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel both urged the president to remain in the deal during their visits to the White House last week.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Monday the time when Iran’s enemies can “hit and run” is over.
“They know if they enter military conflict with Iran, they will be hit multiple times,” he said.
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