30 April, 2018
U.S. President Trump wants to end the nuclear agreement (pdf) with Iran and wants to eliminated Iranian forces in Syria which support the Syrian government. Something is being prepared to make that happen.
Last week General Joseph Votel, commander of CENTCOM – the U.S. military command for the Middle East, was in Israel. It was the first ever visit of a CENTCOM commander to Israel which usually works with the European command EUCOM.
Yesterday former CIA director and now Secretary of State Pompeo visited Israel. A few hours later Israel bombed two ammunition depots in Syria which are supposedly related to Iran. This was a clear attempt to provoke Iran into some reaction.
The Israeli defense minister Lieberman just visited Washington DC and only today came back to Israel.
Now the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahoo loudly announced that he will hold a press conference to present a “huge amount of new and dramatic information on the Iranian nuclear program”. He will allege that Iran cheats on the nuclear agreement (JCPOA).
Netanyahoo is a notorious liar and warmonger. In September 2002 he lied (vid) to the U.S. congress:
There is no question whatsoever that Saddam is seeking and is working and is advancing towards the development of nuclear weapons – no question whatsoever”
Only yesterday he promoted a false story that claimed Arabs in Israel had disrupted a minuted of silence for some people killed in a flash flood.
The IAEA says that Iran is in full compliance with the JCPOA. If there were any serious intelligence about any Iranian deviation from the nuclear agreement it would be presented to the IAEA and the six signature powers of the agreement. The IAEA would investigate and report back. If Iran cheated it would be put back under serious international sanctions. That Netanyahoo wants to present something publicly makes it very likely that he has nothing of relevance.
We hear that the documents he is said to present were compiled by one Christopher Steele and assembled with the help of one Sergej Skripal and his MI6 handler [redacted]. They will show that Iran attempts to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger 😉
This new comedy stunt by Netanyahoo is tightly coordinated with the Trump administration. Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton has worked with the Zionists since early 2000 to push for a war on Iran:
During multiple trips to Israel, Bolton had unannounced meetings, including with the head of Mossad, Meir Dagan, without the usual reporting cable to the secretary of state and other relevant offices. Judging from that report on an early Bolton visit, those meetings clearly dealt with a joint strategy on how to bring about political conditions for an eventual U.S. strike against Iran.
Behind Trump, Netanyahoo and Bolton is one financier, the militant Zionist and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. He financed Trump’s and Netanyahoo’s election campaigns and the various think tanks that create anti-Iranian propaganda and paid Bolton.
biggerTrump wants to leave the nuclear agreement but the other signers, China, Russia, the UK, France and Germany want to keep it up. Just leaving the JCPOA without cause will increase doubt over any agreement the U.S. wants to make on other issues. The allegations Netanyahoo will put forward, no matter how ridiculous they may be, could give Trump some excuse to put new sanctions on Iran without actually leaving the agreement.
But even that does not explain all the recent meetings and visits by the various Israeli and U.S. officials. French soldiers and mercenaries from the UAE have entered north-east-Syria. What for? The Saudis are on board with any operation against Iran.
Something big is up and we do not know yet what it might be.
That was lame. Netanyahoo just finished his show (vid). He claimed that Israel got access to an Iranian archive of its former nuclear program dating from 1999 to 2003. In 2007 a U.S. National Intelligence Estimate found that Iran stopped all nuclear weapon research in 2003 after the U.S. had destroyed Iran’s then arch-enemy Iraq. In 2011 the IAEA reported in detail of Iran’s former “structured program”. It agreed that it had stopped in 2003.
All that Netanyahoo now claims to have acquired is old and known stuff. He refers to an AMAD plan Iran had as if that was some new intelligence. But the IAEA documented AMAD and its development in 2011 (PDF, Annex, page 5). He uses the archive documents with details of well known former programs to declare that Iran has cheated and is not trustworthy. He says that gives Trump reason to disavow the nuclear agreement the U.S. and others had signed with Iran. That is bullshit.
One wonders where the pictures and files Netanyahoo presented are coming from. I have a hunch that these were not obtained from a “warehouse” in Iran but exfiltrated from a computer in Vienna where the IAEA analyzes the former Iranian research program from files Iran handed to it.
I had expected better from a serial liar. Some well forged documents or something more dramatic. This was just nonsense.
Netanyahoo’s “Iran Files” are Well Known, Old and Purloined from Vienna
The dog and pony show the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahoo provided yesterday (video, slideshow) was not based on material Israeli secret services acquired in Iran, but most likely from data Iran provided to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) during the implementation period of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, pdf).
Ali Vaez @AliVaez – 18:06 UTC – 30 Apr 2018
5/ It appears to me that what Israel has done is that it has probably hacked the @iaeaorg and gathered some new details from what Iran responded to the agency to close the outstanding issues in 2015: IAEA Board Adopts Landmark Resolution on Iran PMD Case
Jeffrey Lewis @ArmsControlWonk – 00:14 UTC- 1 May 2018
Let’s go through Netanyahu’s dog-and-pony show. As you will see, everything he said was already known to the IAEA and published in IAEA GOV/2015/68 (2015). There is literally nothing new here and nothing that changes the wisdom of the JCPOA. 1/10
All the graphics, pictures and technical details Netanyahoo quoted were known to the IAEA and the negotiators of the agreement with Iran.
The tale the Israelis provide to explain how they got access to the files does not fit to the content of the “highly theatrical” presentation:
The senior Israeli official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a secret mission, said that Israel’s Mossad intelligence service discovered the warehouse in February 2016, and had the building under surveillance since then.
Mossad operatives broke into the building one night last January, removed the original documents and smuggled them back to Israel the same night, the official said.
Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, a political scientist at Columbia University, points to this slide and satellite picture in Netanyahoo’s presentation:
biggerThe pictured slide claims that Iran moved files to that location in 2017. But the Israeli sources tell the NYT that the Mossad detected the warehouse in early 2016. Why, if no nuclear files were there at that time, did the Mossad put a random warehouse in Tehran under observation?
Most likely both claims are false.