Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
(photo credit: AVI OHAYON - GPO)
A US State Department official called on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to investigate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's claims that Iranian official spread 15 kilograms of radioactive material in Tehran last month in an effort to hide a secret atomic facility near a rug factory.
It is “absolutely imperative that the IAEA fully exercise its authorities in order to provide confidence to the international community that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran,” the official said in a written statement to Reuters.
On Thursday, Netanyahu revealed to the UN General Assembly details from the cache of documents it had lifted out of Tehran in the spring.
Such details included a secret autonomic warehouse in Tehran with as much as 300 tons of nuclear-related equipment and material.
Netanyahu said according to recent satellite images, the Iranian regime was now trying to clean out that warehouse.
At his speech to the UN, Netanyahu appealed to IAEA head Yukiya Amano to inspect the site and the other relevant material Israel collected.
A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the United States is aware of the facility Netanyahu announced and described it as a “warehouse” used to store “records and archives” from Iran’s nuclear program.
A second US intelligence official called Netanyahu’s comments “somewhat misleading.”
“First, we have known about this facility for some time, and it’s full of file cabinets and paper, not aluminum tubes for centrifuges. And second, so far as anyone knows, there is nothing in it that would allow Iran to break out of the JCPOA [nuclear deal] any faster than it otherwise could.”
On Thursday night, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Netanyahu met with UN Secretary General António Guterres to discuss Israel’s cache of documents, which it said proves that Iran had a nuclear program and had hidden it, but not dismantled it. Netanyahu also asked Guterres to speak with Amano about the evidence.
He also appealed to Guterres to use the powers of his office to mobilize the international community and pressure Hamas to release the remains of two soldiers presumed killed during the 2014 war, along with two Israeli citizens who have been held in captivity for the last three and four years.
Separately, they also discussed the importance of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force on the Golan Heights and the United Nations Interim Force on the Lebanese border.
The UN issued a statement on the meeting, explaining that the two leaders discussed regional issues and that on “the Middle East Peace Process, the Secretary-General reaffirmed the United Nations’ positions.”
Guterres also met separately with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. According to the secretary-general’s office, he spoke of “the importance of moving the Middle East peace process forward and underlined their shared commitment for the two-state solution, with Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and Palestine.”
“The Secretary-General highlighted the importance of continued humanitarian and development assistance to the Palestinian people from the international community, particularly through United Nations Relief and Works Agency,” his office said.
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