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Netanyahu claims to show Iran’s ‘nuclear files’ obtained by Israel

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Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 30, 2018.

Amir Cohen | Reuters

Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 30, 2018.

Those files detail Project Amad, which Netanyahu described as “a comprehensive program to design, build and test nuclear weapons.” He said the files provided “new and conclusive proof of the secret nuclear weapons program that Iran has been hiding for years from the international community in its secret atomic archive.”

Helima Croft, global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, said Netanyahu’s statement appeared timed to make sure Trump does not extend the sanctions waivers next week.

The televised announcement followed a meeting this past weekend between Netanyahu and newly sworn-in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a prominent Iran hawk.

“We’ve shared this material with the United States and the United States can vouch for its authenticity,” Netanyahu said on Monday.

The Obama administration negotiated the Iran nuclear deal in 2015 along with China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.K. The accord lifted a series of sanctions against Iran in exchange for Tehran accepting limits on its nuclear program and allowing international investigators access to its facilities.

The International Atomic Energy Agency and the signatories to the agreement have repeatedly confirmed that Iran is complying with the deal as it is written.

But the Trump administration, Israel and foreign policy hawks have long argued that the accord itself is flawed. Last year, the White House announced a major policy shift aimed at working with U.S. lawmakers and European partners to toughen the nuclear deal.

In January, Trump waived sanctions against Iran, but said he would not suspend them when the next deadline arrived on May 12 unless the United States and Europe had agreed on a path forward.

The European partners are open to starting new talks with Iran, but want to preserve the existing deal. Russia and China also continue to back the accord.

French President Emmanuel Macron is working with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to salvage the deal, following Macron’s meeting with Trump last week. At the end of his visit to Washington, Macron said he believes Trump will leave the nuclear deal for “domestic reasons.”

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