Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Ayatollah Ali KhameneiReuters

At the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu again addressed the Iranian threat to Israel and world peace.

Netanyahu said that “Iran is continuing to lie to the international community in order to attain nuclear weapons.”

“Today, even the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, understands this,” the Israeli leader sarcastically said. He added that “these institutions now understand what we (Israel) have been claiming for years.”

The UN body in Vienna last weekend took the unusual step of holding a vote on a resolution addressing Iran’s non-compliance with the 2015 landmark nuclear deal called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and Iran’s refusal to cooperate with the IAEA.

The vote on the resolution became necessary after China tried to block it. The resolution called upon Iran “to fully cooperate” with the IAEA and “satisfy the Agency’s requests without any further delay, including by providing prompt access to the locations specified by the Agency.”

The IAEA was talking about Iran’s refusal to grant the Agency’s inspectors access to two military sites where Iran is suspected of having conducted work on nuclear weapons research.

The world’s nuclear watchdog furthermore accused Iran of “continued lack of clarification regarding Agency questions related to possible undeclared nuclear material and nuclear-related activities in Iran.”

A day after Netanyahu made his remarks, media reported that former US national security adviser John Bolton had revealed in his new book, that the Israeli spy agency Mossad had seized what appeared to be yellowcake during the famous raid on Iran’s secret nuclear archive warehouse in Shirobad Tehran.

Yellowcake is processed uranium in a solid form that can be transferred from site to site.

“It was not enriched uranium, but perhaps yellowcake (uranium oxide in solid form), and certainly, evidence contradicting Tehran’s repeated assertions it never had a nuclear weapons program,” Bolton wrote in his book.

The former American diplomat and national security adviser to President Donald J. Trump said that Iran had repeatedly tried to sanitize nuclear sites the IAEA wanted to inspect but failed.

This could offer proof of the existence of the so-called Amad program that was designed to produce nuclear weapons and that Iran claimed was terminated in 2004.

Officially Bolton stopped short of confirming reports that the Mossad seized yellowcake during the daring operation in January 2018 but his omission could be the result of the US government censor.

“Of course, Israel knows for certain what form the uranium is in since it has stolen documents, as does the IAEA, which has the collected samples, but the likelihood is that the uranium…was yellowcake,” Bolton concluded.

Bolton’s formulation made clear that he couldn’t say more because of the US censorship but it was enough to add another suspicion to an already long laundry list of Iran’s stated intentions of developing its nuclear program.

During Bolton’s stint as national security adviser, the Trump Administration received all the information it needed on Iran’s nuclear secrets from Mossad director Yossi Cohen including revelations of two additional undeclared nuclear sites in Turquzabad and Abadeh, Iran.

The text of the IAEA resolution was ironically drafted by the European powers Germany, Britain and France who refuse to abandon the JCPOA and even support lifting the weapons embargo on Iran that came into effect after the adoption of the nuclear deal but expires this coming November.

The US and Israel want to extend sanctions on the purchase of weapons by Iran, but the EU, Russia and China oppose the move.

The IAEA, on the other hand, has gradually taken a more assertive approach in its relationship with the Islamic Republic after years of ignoring Netanyahu’s warnings.

IAEA head Rafael Grossi said after the adoption of the resolution that he intends to up the pressure on Iran and will conduct a conversation with the Iranian ambassador in Vienna in order to “solve this as soon as possible.”

The European opposition against measures that will increase the pressure on the regime of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is mindboggling especially when one takes in account that Iran is active in Europe to pursue and even kill opponents of Khamenei’s regime.

Last weekend, Iran again tried to kill a member of the Iranian opposition in Europe when in the Dutch city of Leeuwarden an Iranian affiliated with Khamenei’s regime stabbed a Kurdish Iranian activist multiple times but failed to kill the man.

The victim, Sadegh Zarza a 64-year-old member of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, was lured to the train station of Leeuwarden by a 38-year-old man with Iranian nationality who lived in the coastal city of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

When he arrived at the train station, Zarza was stabbed 15 times in his torso, neck and head while still sitting in his car and his attacker posed as a mentally unstable man most likely because he knew that in the Netherlands it’s easy to obtain psychiatric reports declaring a person legally unaccountable.

Zarza’s brother says the attempt to murder was politically motivated and recalled the fact that Sadegh appeared on a hit list of the Iranian secret service because he fought the regime for ten years while still being in Iran.

The attack was a “statement” by the Iranian regime said Sadegh’s brother adding that “even abroad the opposition (of Khamenei’s regime) is not safe.”

In a 2009 interview with the local paper Leeuwarder Courant Sadegh said he had been hunted down by the Iranian secret service which already tried to kill him when he arrived in the Netherlands.

According to a Dutch politician who immigrated to the Netherlands from Iran, the attacks on Iranian dissidents in Europe have sharply increased after the popular unrest in Iran at the end of 2019. He said the mullah’s “panicked” and started “to threaten” Iranians living in Europe.

In France, already ten Iranian dissidents have been murdered by the long arm of the Iranian secret service while the attack on Sadegh was the third murder attempt on a Dutch Iranian ex-pat in four years' time.