Netanyahu Iran Warnings at Odds With Mossad, Leaked Report ShowsKambiz Foroohar
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assertion that Iran was close to developing a nuclear weapon was at odds with assessments by the country’s secret service, according to purported intelligence documents cited by Al-Jazeera television and the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper.
The leak comes eight days before Netanyahu is due to address U.S. Congress on March 3 to make a case against a deal that would limit Iran’s nuclear program in return for lifting economic sanctions.
In an address to the United Nations General Assembly in 2012, Netanyahu used a cartoon of a bomb as a visual prop, to highlight how close Iran was to making the bomb, saying it could make the breakthrough within a year.
The purportedly leaked Mossad report said that “Iran at this stage is not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons,” according to the Guardian and Al Jazeera, which said the report was shared with South African intelligence. The two news services on Monday reported on hundreds of intelligence documents, mostly involving South Africa.
“Even though Iran has accumulated enough 5 percent enriched uranium for several bombs, and has enriched some of it to 20 percent, it does not appear to be ready to enrich it to higher levels,” the report said, according to the Guardian and Al Jazeera.
A senior Israeli official, speaking anonymously because of the sensitivity of the subject, said there was no contradiction between the purported Mossad report cited by the Guardian and Netanyahu’s comments at the UN.
Iran and world powers are seeking to reach a framework nuclear agreement by next month. The latest round of talks, attended by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, concluded on Monday in Geneva.
The International Atomic Energy Agency reported last week that Iran was cutting its most sensitive nuclear stockpile in exchange for limited sanctions relief, as per an earlier agreement.