JERUSALEM, Israel - According to Israel, Iran until recently had a secret nuclear site in addition to others Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had previously claimed to exist.
Mr Netanyahu revealed the existence of the second site in a statement he released at the Israeli foreign ministry in Jerusalem on Monday night.
He did not explain why the site was not disclosed when he made the original announcement of Israel's previous discovery of documents 18 months ago. He did however claim that Iran, since that time, having become aware that Israel was aware of the existence of the site, had destroyed it.
"A year and a half ago, we exposed Iran's secret nuclear archive which revealed that Iran was developing five nuclear warheads as early as 2003. Last year, we exposed Iran's secret nuclear warehouse in Turquzabad which Iran used for storing materials and equipment for its secret nuclear program," the Israeli prime minister said in Monday night's statement.
"Even before that, Iran knew that we were on to them so they cleared the site. They cleared it of these capacities, they cleared them, and then they actually covered up the site. This is an actual cover-up. They put gravel on it to try and hide their traces. But they didn't. The IAEA found traces of uranium that Iran hid in these sites. That's a direct violation of the NPT, the Non-Proliferation Treaty."
"Earlier today, the IAEA demanded that Iran answer its questions regarding these violations and Iran refused," said Mr Netanyahu.
"Today, we reveal that yet another secret nuclear site was exposed in the archives that we brought from Tehran. In this site, Iran conducted experiments to develop nuclear weapons. This is the site near Abadeh, south of Isfahan. When Iran realized that we uncovered the site here's what they did: they destroyed the site. They just wiped it out. They wiped out the site. Here they conducted nuclear experiments for nuclear weapons. This is the site after they understood that we were on to them. They destroyed the evidence or at least tried to destroy the evidence."
"This is what I have to say to the tyrants of Tehran: Israel knows what you're doing, Israel knows when you're doing it and Israel knows where you're doing it. We will continue to expose your lies. What we see is a consistent pattern of Iranian lies, deception and violations," said Mr Netanyahu.
"I call on the international community to wake up, to realize that Iran is systematically lying, and I call on the international community to join President Trump's sanctions to exert more pressure on Iran. The only way to stop Iran's march to the bomb, and its aggression in the region, is pressure, pressure and more pressure," he said.
Iran has been subjected to UN weapons inspectors inspections since 2015. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has not responded to Mr Netanyahu's allegation but earlier Monday was reminding Iran of its obligations.
"Iran needs to cooperate with the IAEA fully and in a timely fashion," IAEA Acting Director General Cornel Feruta told the Agency's Board of Governors Monday. Mr Feruta, who held talks with senior Iranian officials in Tehran on Sunday, said: "It is important to advance our interactions and, therefore, I also stressed the need for Iran to respond promptly to Agency questions related to the completeness of Iran's safeguards declarations."
"The Agency will continue its efforts and will remain actively engaged. Time is of the essence," he added.
(Photo credit: Kobi Gideon | GPO).