Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday revealed a cache of files he claims were obtained from Iran and prove Tehran ran a secret program to build nuclear weapons.
Iranian leaders have long said their nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes. But Netanyahu on Monday revealed tens of thousands of pages of documents, which he said were copied from a “highly secret location” in Iran.
Those files detail Project Amad, which Netanyahu described as “a comprehensive program to design, build and test nuclear weapons.” He said the files provided “new and conclusive proof of the secret nuclear weapons program that Iran has been hiding for years from the international community in its secret atomic archive.”
The existence of Iran’s nuclear weapons program is widely accepted fact. Revelations about that program marshaled international support for a tough series of sanctions against Iran, which ultimately led to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Netanyahu’s remarks come less than two weeks before U.S. President Donald Trump must decide whether to continue suspending sanctions against Iran under that deal, or restore the penalties on one of the world’s biggest oil producers.
The announcement also followed a meeting between Netanyahu and newly sworn-in secretary of State Mike Pompeo this weekend.
“We’ve shared this material with the United States and the United States can vouch for its authenticity,” Netanyahu said.
The Obama administration negotiated the Iran nuclear deal in 2015 along with China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.K. The accord lifted a series of sanctions against Iran in exchange for Tehran accepting limits on its nuclear program and allowing international investigators access to its facilities.
The International Atomic Energy Agency and the signatories to the agreement have repeatedly confirmed that Iran is complying with the deal as it is written.
But the Trump administration and foreign policy hawks have long argued that the accord itself is flawed. Last year, the White House announced a major policy shift aimed at working with U.S. lawmakers and European partners to toughen the nuclear deal.
In January, Trump waived sanctions against Iran, but said he would not suspend them when the next deadline arrived on May 12 unless the United States and Europe had agreed on a path forward.