A new report sheds light on how Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency acquired secret documents pertaining to Iran’s nuclear program. It reveals Mossad agents monitored a Tehran warehouse containing the nuclear documents for a year before launching a previously disclosed raid in January.
The raid yielded a massive haul of intelligence: about 50,000 pages and 163 compact discs, according to the New York Post. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced in April that the documents "proved Iran had been holding onto information from its ostensibly defunct nuclear research program, signaling its aspiration to resume its research."
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Mossad agents had just over six hours to infiltrate the warehouse, cut through dozens of safes, extract the documents, and exit the city, according to officials who relaying details of the raid to the New York Times. Several papers shown to reporters contain clear evidence that Iran had worked in the past to make atomic weapons.
"The papers show these guys were working on nuclear bombs," said one former inspector for International Atomic Energy Agency.
Iran claims the documents are fraudulent, but American and British intelligence officials say the intelligence is genuine.
Iranian officials limited work on the country’s nuclear program in 2003, but documents reveal senior scientists made plans to continue some research in secret. "The work would be divided in two: covert (secret structure and goals) and overt," one Iranian scientist wrote in a memo.
The documents have heightened Israel’s distrust of Iran’s intentions and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which Iran, the U.S., China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the European Union agreed to in 2015. "It explains why the [nuclear deal] to us is worse than nothing, because it leaves key parts of the nuclear program unaddressed," said one Israeli official. "It doesn’t block Iran’s path to the bomb. It paves Iran’s path to the bomb."
President Donald Trump pulled the United States from the Iran nuclear deal in May, calling it "defective at its core." Netanyahu supported Trump’s decision, deeming it a "bold decision today to reject the disastrous nuclear deal with the terrorist regime in Tehran."