Mon | Sep 23, 2019

Leader claims to find new Iranian nuke site

Published:Tuesday | September 10, 2019 | 12:13 AM
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, on Sunday, September 8.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, on Sunday, September 8.

JERUSALEM (AP):

Israel’s prime minister yesterday unveiled what he said was a previously undisclosed Iranian nuclear weapons site, further escalating a showdown between the two enemy countries.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement came as the UN nuclear watchdog held a meeting in Vienna, where he’s hoping the agency will take tougher action against Iran. It also came in the final stages of Israeli national elections, drawing criticism from opponents that the sudden press conference was a campaign stunt.

Speaking to reporters, Netanyahu said Israel discovered the facility, located in the central Iranian town of Abadeh, using information gathered in a trove of documents Israeli agents stole from an Iranian warehouse and made public early last year.

“Iran conducted experiments to develop nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said.

He provided no details or evidence of what those experiments were, but he showed off two satellite photos. The first, taken in June, showed the facility intact. The second, taken in July, showed parts of the building had been destroyed in what he said was an Iranian cover-up after Israel discovered the facility.

“This is what I have to say to the tyrants of Tehran,” he said. “Israel knows what you’re doing, Israel knows when you’re doing it, and Israel knows where you’re doing it.”

Israel considers Iran to be its greatest enemy, and Netanyahu has been a leading opponent to the international nuclear deal with Iran. He says that Iran is trying to build a nuclear bomb, a charge it denies, and has accused the Iranians of violating provisions of the agreement.

There was no immediate reaction from Iran. Abadeh is a small city famous for its carpets located some 500 kilometres (300 miles) southeast of Tehran, Iran’s capital.

There has been a long-time airport project planned for the area that authorities broke ground on in 1995. At one point, officials suggested it could become an air defence base. However, there’s been no major development at the site.