Varying sources including governments are offering that the timing of Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel just announcing on TV that Iran has been engaged in secretive nuclear development coincides too greatly with the United States and its allies currently seeking to renegotiate the nuke deal. In 2015, Iran agreed with the U.S., Britain, China, France, Germany, and Russia, that they would limit their nuclear program in return for financial relief from years of economic sanctions. Over the past few weeks, Trump has given France, Germany, and Britain, a May 12th deadline to make adjustments to what he determined are flaws in the deal, or he would re-impose economic sanctions. This includes the accord’s failure to address the Iranian ballistic missile program, terms by which nuclear inspectors can visit suspected Iranian nuclear sites, and the aspects of what is called the ‘sunset’ clauses in which some of the terms of the deal will eventually expire.
On live television, Netanyahu said that Iran had kept files on nuclear technology since the deal was finalized, and was involved in expanding its nuclear weapons technology. Standing in front of piles of copies of Iranian documents, Netanyahu elaborated on television, “Iran’s leaders repeatedly deny ever pursuing nuclear weapons. Tonight I’m here to tell you one thing: Iran lied. Iran lied about never having a nuclear weapons program. One hundred thousand secret files prove it did. Second, even after the deal, Iran continued to preserve and expand its nuclear weapons knowledge for future use.”
Netanyahu gave United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo a notice about the live broadcast ahead of time that was produced and aired from Tel-Aviv. Netanyahu finalized his speech in Hebrew after starting it in English, a clear message that he wanted America and its European allies to be aware that the message was for them as well.
Stating that he spoke by phone to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the issue, Netanyahu also commented that he had shared the intelligence with the United States and would send envoys to Britain, Germany, and France to present proof that Iran has been lying all along about ceasing to develop nuclear technology. Iranian government officials have responded by accusing Israel, which is its sworn enemy, of conjuring global suspicions against their country.
Gerald Araud, the French ambassador to Washington, tweeted, “information about past Iranian nuclear activity was in fact an argument in favor of the nuclear deal, not against it.” A spokesman from the German government stated that it was critical to keep the inspections provided for under the deal. Some European allies of the U.S. urged Trump to keep the deal in place, in argument that Iran has mostly adhered to the terms.
A senior Iranian foreign ministry official, Abbas Araqchi, stated that Netanyahu’s announcement was, “a childish and ridiculous game with the goal of influencing Trump’s decision ahead of the May 12 deadline.” Trump responded by telling a White House news conference after the live Israeli broadcast, “the nuclear deal was a horrible agreement for the United States.”
What do you think? Is this political manipulation, or has Iran violated the Nuclear Agreement?