In a dramatic televised address Monday evening, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu revealed to the public information gathered from Iran’s nuclear weapons program, proving that the Tehran regime had lied about its efforts to acquire atomic weapons.
The address was made less than two weeks before President Trump’s May 12th deadline for reaching an agreement to improve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, better known as the Iran nuclear deal. If no alterations are made to the deal by the deadline, President Trump has warned he will not hesitate to end sanctions relief for Iran, effectively ending the nuclear deal.
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address relied heavily on material acquired from a top-secret Iranian archive used to house files related to its nuclear weapons program.
But how did Israel come into possession of a treasure trove of stolen Iranian nuclear documents?
Netanyahu noted that Israel had acquired some 110,000 files – 55,000 pages and 55,000 digital files on CD-ROMs – totaling half a ton of archival material.
According to a report Monday night by The New York Times which cited an anonymous Israeli senior official, the massive document haul was undertaken in a January 2017 operation he hailed as one of Israel’s “greatest achievements” in intelligence gathering.
Israel’s national intelligence agency, the Mossad, discovered the location of the Iranian nuclear weapons program’s secret file archive in Tehran in February 2016, the source told the Times, which Netanyahu revealed was located in the Shorabad district.
Last January, Mossad agents infiltrated the archive in an overnight operation, removing the half ton of material, and smuggled the files to Israel that very same night.
No details on the technical execution of the covert operation were provided.
Iranian officials were initially unaware the documents had been removed, learning of the infiltration only months later, Yediot Ahronot reported Tuesday morning.
Mossad chief Yossi Cohen later informed Donald Trump of the successful operation during a trip to Washington.
While Israel has been in possession of the documents since January 2017, Israeli officials refrained from disclosing the contents to the public until now, due in large part to the lengthy translation process for the 110,000 documents and extensive efforts to verify their authenticity.
Following Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address on Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed the authenticity of the materials furnished by Israel as proof of Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
I can confirm with you, for you, that these documents are real, they are authentic," said Pompeo.