Benjamin Netanyahu makes his speech at Israel's defence ministry in Tel Aviv on April 30, 2018. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP
In an elaborate televised presentation on Monday, the hawkish Israeli leader claimed he had new “proof” via captured documents that Iran had developed a nuclear weapons plan which could be activated at any time.
The French foreign ministry said the details needed to be “studied and evaluated” but a spokesperson added that the evidence appeared to confirm what European powers had known for more than a decade and half.
“At first sight, they (the details) confirm that part of the Iranian nuclear programme, as France and its partners stated during the first revelations in the summer of 2002, was not civilian,” said the spokesperson in a statement received by AFP.
The 2015 nuclear deal negotiated between Iran and six world powers imposes nuclear inspections on Iran in return for the loosening of economic sanctions, but US President Donald Trump is threatening to pull out.
“The pertinence of the deal is reinforced by the details presented by Israel: all activity linked to the development of a nuclear weapon is permanently forbidden by the deal,” said the foreign ministry spokesperson.
“The inspection regime put in place by the (UN nuclear watchdog) IAEA thanks to the deal is one of the most exhaustive and the most robust in the history of nuclear non-proliferation,” the statement added.
French President Emmanuel Macron has urged Trump to stick with the nuclear accord, arguing that it presents the only viable option available to the international community.
Besides agreeing to snap inspections Iran also cut the number of centrifuges used for enriching uranium and reduced its stockpiles of the material.
The Israeli premier has repeatedly called for the deal — which Iran signed with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States — to be either altered or scrapped.
Netanyahu did not present evidence on Monday that Iran had actively worked to obtain an atomic weapon since the 2015 agreement and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) considers the country to be complying. Trump is set to make announcement on May 12.