Iran hid nuclear material

Israeli officials say that UN nuclear inspectors found evidence of radioactive material in an Iranian warehouse in Tehran.

The secret nuclear site was first exposed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his UN speech in September 2018. Netanyahu said Iran had removed 15 kilograms of undeclared enriched uranium from the facility in August 2018 in an attempt to “clean up” the site and to conceal illicit activities from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Israel’s Channel 13 news reported last night that Israeli officials passed information about the warehouse to the IAEA, and UN inspectors visited the site several months ago to take soil samples to measure radioactivity. The Israeli officials said that the tests reportedly came back positive and the remains of radioactive material were found at the site. If verified, it would be a clear violation of the JCPOA nuclear agreement.

According to the report, Israel and the US hope the IAEA will soon publish its findings about the site and circulate it to all the member states in its board of governors.

Iran denied Netanyahu’s claims in his 2018 speech, arguing that the warehouse in Tehran was a carpet factory. At the time Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described Netanyahu’s speech as an “arts and craft show”.

The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security think-tank claims that efforts are underway at Iran’s Fordow facility to increase Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium. A report published yesterday states that: “Fordow is potentially part of Iran’s current threats to progressively go to higher enrichment levels and increase its stocks of enriched uranium.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday held his second phone call with US President Donald Trump this week. Netanyahu’s office said: “The prime minister expressed his appreciation for the president’s intention of increasing the sanctions against Iran.” White House Spokesman Judd Deere said the call focused on new ways to cooperate on shared national security interests, including efforts to prevent Iran’s malign actions in the region.