Zarif accuses West of hypocrisy over report Israel expands Dimona nuclear center
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday accused Western leaders and the International Atomic Energy Agency of hypocrisy of targeting Iran’s nuclear program while ignoring the Israeli one.
Zarif tweeted a link to a recent report in the UK’s Guardian newspaper alleging that Israel’s top-secret nuclear research facility near the southern city of Dimona is undergoing major expansion.
“Israel is expanding Dimona, the region’s only atomic bomb factory,” wrote Zarif, marking US President Joe Biden, the IAEA, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
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“Worried? Concerned? A little bit? Would you like to comment? I thought so, ”he wrote.
European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini (L); The Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (C) and the Political Representative of the Iranian Foreign Ministry Abbas Araghchi will take part in a ministerial meeting of the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPOA) in Vienna on July 6, 2018. (AFP / APA / Hans Punz)
Israel has never recognized that it has a nuclear arsenal, but has maintained a policy of “nuclear ambiguity” while vowing that it will not be the first to use nuclear weapons in the Middle East.
Zarif’s comments come as IAEA inspectors continue to investigate Iranian nuclear sites and the Biden government works to get Iran back into compliance with the Iranian nuclear deal.
Israel is expanding Dimona, the region’s only atomic bomb factory. @ POTUS @ iaeaorg @ BorisJohnson @ EmmanuelMacron # AngelaMerkel
Concerned? A little bit?
Would you like to comment?
I also thought. pic.twitter.com/qwvlKONEqi
– Javad Zarif (@JZarif) February 20, 2021
IAEA inspectors found uranium particles at two Iranian nuclear sites that Iran wanted to block access to, according to a report on Friday.
The Iranian authorities had prevented the inspectors from reaching the sites for seven months prior to the inspection, and Iranian officials have failed to explain the presence of the uranium, Reuters news agency reported, citing diplomats familiar with the work of the UN agency .
The inspections took place in August and September 2020, the report said. The IAEA keeps its results secret and only shared the details of the find with a few countries.
The Reuters report failed to identify the locations. Earlier reports said one of the sites was in Abadeh, south of Isfahan – a site that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu marked as the site of an alleged secret nuclear facility in September 2019. Iran denies looking for nuclear weapons; Firmly convinced that the regime is lying to the world, Netanyahu has said that a plethora of nuclear documents about its rogue program, which the Mossad smuggled out of Tehran two years ago, prove Iran’s duplicity.
Illustrative: The Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visits the Bushehr nuclear power plant outside of Bushehr, Iran on January 13, 2015. (AP Photo / Iranian Presidency Office, Mohammad Berno, file)
It is believed that the sites visited by the inspectors have not been used for years. The IAEA and Western intelligence agencies all believe that Iran had a secret nuclear weapons program until 2003, although Tehran denies ever attempting to obtain such weapons.
Enriched uranium can be used as part of the core of a nuclear weapon, and Iran must account for all of its uranium so inspectors can make sure it is not used in weapons.
The results, and Iran’s failure to explain them, could complicate efforts by the Biden government to resume negotiations with Iran. The new administration has repeatedly stated that it is ready to revert to a “longer and stronger” version of the deal when Iran returns to compliance for the first time.
The landmark 2015 agreement between Iran and the United States, China, Russia, Great Britain, France and Germany to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions has been in place since former US President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018 and reimposed severe sanctions Islam largely shattered republic.
Iran has since consistently violated restrictions on the amount of uranium it can enrich and the purity with which it can enrich the material, as well as other restrictions.
The White House officially announced on Thursday that it was ready to resume discussions on Iran’s nuclear program, and US President Joe Biden said in his first major foreign policy address on Friday that his administration was ready to “resume negotiations” also deal with “destabilizing” Iran activities “in the Middle East.
Left: US President-elect Joe Biden on January 14, 2021 in Wilmington, Delaware (AP Photo / Matt Slocum); Right: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks in Tehran, Iran on December 9, 2020. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)
Iran has called for the US to lift sanctions before returning to talks. She also declined to discuss other issues such as regional activities.
Israeli leaders, including Netanyahu, have long spoken out against the nuclear deal and have repeatedly warned that the US will revert to the deal.
In a statement Friday afternoon, Netanyahu said Israel believes the old deal will “pave Iran’s path to a nuclear arsenal.”
Thursday’s Guardian report said construction work in Dimona is visible in satellite imagery released by an independent group of experts.
The section of the complex under construction is several hundred meters from the reactor and reprocessing plant of the complex, and the purpose of the construction is unknown, the report said.
A researcher from the International Panel on Fissile Materials, who first noticed construction in the satellite imagery, told The Guardian that construction appeared to have started in early 2019 or late 2018.
The Israeli nuclear research facility Dimona is officially called Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center.
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