Boris Johnson: UK will stick with Iran deal despite Netanyahu claims

Boris Johnson: UK will stick with Iran deal despite Netanyahu claims

British Foreign Secretary responds to Israeli prime minister's claim that Iran has been secretly working on its nuclear programme

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said Britain will stick with the nuclear agreement signed with Iran and other world powers in 2015 despite Israel’s prime minister saying it was ploughing on with its plans.

In a televised presentation, Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that Israeli intelligence had got hold of tens of thousands of documents detailing Iran’s secret nuclear programme from a vault in the Iranian capital.

In a speech on Monday, Netanyahu said Iran had been deceived the world by secretly working on its nuclear programme since signing the 2015 agreement and that Israel now had 55,000 documents to prove it.

The dramatic announcement, just days before Donald Trump is due to announce whether the United States is pulling out of the ground-breaking international accord, was immediately rubbished by Iran’s foreign minister.

Speaking in English in a highly-publicised address, Netanyahu showed part of what he said were “exact copies” of secret documents obtained by Mossad from Tehran.

Showing pictures of what he said were Iran’s secret document storage, he said: “In a great intelligence achievement, Israel obtained half a tonne of material inside these vaults. We got 55,000 pages and another 50,000 files on 180 CDs.”

Saying they included “incriminating” documents, charts, presentations, blueprints, photos and videos, he said: “These files conclusively prove that Iran was brazenly lying when it said it never had a nuclear weapons programme,” he said, in a Tel Aviv address headed ‘Atomic Archive.’

He said the files showed that Iran lied about never having a nuclear programme and lied to atomic inspectors, adding: “Work is continuing.” However, commentators said Netanyahu did not present any documents showing this.

European counter-parties to the 2015 Geneva Accords restated their commitment to the agreement after the address, with Johnson saying Netanyahu’s presentation on Iran’s past work “underlines the importance of keeping the deal’s constraints on Tehran’s nuclear ambitions”.

He added: “The deal is not based on trust about Iran’s intentions; rather it is based on tough verification, including measures that allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency unprecedented access to Iran’s nuclear programme.”

The fact that Iran conducted sensitive research in secret until 2003, he said, “shows why we need the intrusive inspections allowed by the Iran nuclear deal today”.

However, new US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the evidence showed that the deal “was built on Iran’s lies,” adding: “Iran’s nuclear deception is inconsistent with its pledge that ‘under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop, or acquire any nuclear weapons.’”

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