Middle East

Israeli Leader Says Iran Hid a Nuclear Weapons Site

Israel accused Iran on Monday of having harbored an undisclosed nuclear-weapons site that the Iranians destroyed a few months ago for fear of exposure. Iran ridiculed the accusation.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel displayed satellite photographs that he said showed the site, and he called upon other countries to join the United States in maintaining pressure on Tehran.

Mr. Netanyahu told reporters in Jerusalem that Israel had first learned of the site, in the central Iranian city of Abadeh, in early 2018 when Israeli spies stole what he has previously described as a huge trove of the archives of Iran’s nuclear program.

When the Iranians learned that Israel was aware of the site, he said, “they simply destroyed it, just eliminated everything.”

Mr. Netanyahu showed the photographs a week before an election in which he is battling for political survival. His move also came after President Trump suggested he might meet with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, possibly during the United Nations General Assembly next month.

The Israeli prime minister described the satellite photos as having been taken in late June, and then about a month later, which appeared to show damage to buildings in a complex along a mountain ridge.

“Every time they hide, we reveal, and then they try to cover their tracks,” Mr. Netanyahu said.

He took no questions during the presentation. But his assertions left many questions unanswered, chief among them why Israel waited until now to reveal information from a trove of material seized at a warehouse in Tehran, in an espionage operation, 21 months ago.

Mr. Netanyahu first revealed some material from the trove last year. In the summer of 2018, he invited reporters from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post to review some of the material under the watchful eye of Israeli intelligence officers.

Read more at The New York Times

About the author

David M. Halbfinger and David E. Sanger

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