How Israeli intelligence stole Iran’s nuke secrets; Pompeo impressed; The N. Korean angle

by WorldTribune Staff, May 1, 2018

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address on April 30 in which he revealed thousands of top-secret files related to Iran’s nuclear weapons program was hailed as one of Israel’s “greatest achievements” in intelligence gathering.

A new report details how Israel acquired some 110,000 files – 55,000 pages and 55,000 digital files on CD-ROMs – totaling half a ton of archival material.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu displays some of the secret Iranian nuclear documents obtained by Israel at an April 30 press conference. / Reuters

In January 2017, Mossad agents infiltrated the secret file archive in Teheran, removed the half-ton of material, and smuggled the files into Israel, The New York Times reported, citing a senior Israeli official. Mossad had discovered the archive’s location in February 2016, the report said.

Mossad chief Yossi Cohen later informed U.S. President Donald Trump of the successful operation during a trip to Washington.

Iranian officials were initially unaware the documents had been removed, learning of the infiltration only months later, Yediot Ahronot reported on May 1.

While the trove of material has been in Israel’s possession for over a year, Israeli officials did not disclose the contents to the public until now mostly due to the lengthy translation process for the 110,000 documents and extensive efforts to verify their authenticity, Arutz Sheva reported.

Following Netanyahu’s address on April 30, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed the authenticity of the materials.

“I can confirm with you, for you, that these documents are real, they are authentic,” said Pompeo. “The documents show that Iran had a secret nuclear-weapons program for years” while it was denying it was pursuing such weapons.”

Pompeo added: “What this means is [Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers] was not constructed on a foundation of good faith or transparency. It was built on Iran’s lies. The Iranians have consistently taken the position that they’ve never had a program like this. This will belie any notion that there wasn’t a program.”

Trump has set a May 12 deadline for reaching an agreement to improve the Iran nuclear deal.

Trump did not say on April 30 what he will do, but he rejected a suggestion that walking away from the Iran deal would send a bad signal to North Korea as it negotiates with Washington over the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

“I think it sends the right message” to Pyongyang, Trump said.

Read full text of Netanyahu’s April 30 address here.