You gotta love Mossad. Agents snuck into a warehouse smack in the middle of Tehran last January and, in a 6 1/2-hour operation, managed to steal 100,000 documents that Israel says prove Iran was lying about their nuclear weapons program.
The Israeli team secretly reached the warehouse holding the materials and broke in during a tight time window when it knew the building would be unguarded, the officials said. To avoid drawing attention to the nondescript facility, Iran hadn’t posted full-time guards, they said, but rather relied on alarm systems that the Israeli agents disabled.
The Israeli operation was first revealed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at an April press conference in which he declared that the stolen documents proved Iran had lied for years in claiming it didn’t have a nuclear-weapons program.
In a lengthy briefing at a security facility here last week, senior Israeli intelligence officials disclosed additional details about the operation. Those include specifics on how the documents were removed from Iran; the existence within the documents of the warhead designs, for which Israel said Iran got unspecified foreign assistance; the operation of a secret explosives-testing facility that international inspectors had long searched for in vain; and a scramble by Iranian officials to keep their nuclear program alive after international inspectors concluded it had been suspended.
There are some cherished myths held by pro-Iran nuclear deal partisans that appear to have been exposed. First, the notion that Iran had “suspended” its nuclear program in 2009 has surely been debunked. Second, the notion that no foreign country would offer Iran help in building a bomb is clearly not true. In this case, it is almost certainly North Korean engineers and techs helping Tehran with their nuclear program.
Third, the idea that Iran couldn’t hide any major nuclear-related facilities from western intelligence or UN inspectors is a joke. Taken together, the wishful thinking — or deliberate self-delusion — of the Obama administration about Tehran’s nuclear program makes the deal look even worse.
So what did the courageous Mossad agents find?
Iranian nuclear scientists, two of whom later were assassinated under mysterious circumstances, are quoted in one document discussing the need to distinguish between “overt” nuclear research activities, which could continue because they could be shown to have peaceful purposes, and “covert” activities that had to be hidden because they could only be attributed to a nuclear-weapons program.
A series of other documents and photos purportedly involve one particularly sensitive Iranian facility, within a military complex known as Parchin, which the IAEA long suspected housed a firing chamber used to test explosives that could be used to ignite a nuclear explosion.
When the IAEA finally gained access to the facility in 2015, it found no such chamber, but said extensive demolition and refurbishing of the site had seriously undermined the agency’s ability to determine whether such a chamber had been there.
The new materials include more than a dozen photographs of what Israeli intelligence officials said was the explosives chamber at Parchin, as well as reports on experiments conducted there.
Obama made a big deal about the nuclear deal forcing Iran to accept inspections at Parchin. It had long been thought that Parchin was a major center for nuclear research made off limits to international inspectors because Iran claimed national security. The “inspection” included the Iranians themselves presenting IAEA inspectors with soil samples “proving” Parchin was not a nuclear site.
I guess if you want to be snookered, you will be.
Iran is still lying about its nuclear program. But for those willing to see the facts and hear the truth, Trump’s dumping of the nuclear deal is looking better and better.