France and EU allies say Netanyahu’s claims reinforce Iran nuclear deal

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s revelations about Iran’s nuclear weapons program only prove the need for a nuclear deal, according to French and EU leaders.

Maria Burtin
Netanyahu, yesterday Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash 90
The French Foreign Ministry responded today to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s presentation of Iran’s nuclear weapons program and stated that Netanyahu only repeated information revealed by Europe back in 2002. The French statement stressed that the presented materials reinforce the importance of maintaining the Iran nuclear deal, formerly known as 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

“At first sight, they (the details) confirm that part of the Iranian nuclear program, as France and its partners stated during the first revelations in the summer of 2002, was not civilian,” said the spokesperson for the ministry, according to a statement obtained by AFP.

In a televised address Monday, Netanyahu presented information gathered from Iran’s nuclear weapons program, claiming that Iran had lied about its efforts to acquire atomic weapons and had developed a nuclear weapons plan that can be activated at any time.

Statements from other European leaders were made before the French ministry’s remarks and said that the revealed information will not change their current position on Iran’s nuclear deal.

“What I have seen from the first reports is that Prime Minister Netanyahu has not put into question Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] commitments, meaning post-2015 nuclear commitments,” said European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini. “The JCPOA, the nuclear agreement, is not based on assumptions of good faith or trust – it is based on concrete commitments, verification mechanisms and a very strict monitoring of facts, done by the IAEA. The IAEA has published 10 reports, certifying that Iran has fully complied with its commitments.”

The British Foreign Office released a statement on Monday evening confirming UK involvement with the plan and its importance.

“We have never been naive about Iran and its nuclear intentions. That is why the IAEA inspection regime agreed as part of the Iran nuclear deal is one of the most extensive and robust in the history of international nuclear accords,” said a spokesperson for the ministry. “It remains a vitally important way of independently verifying that Iran is adhering to the deal and that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.”

Watch: Netanyahu reveals Iranian nuclear files

US President Donald Trump responded to Netanyahu’s speech and praised him for “sending the right message on Iran’s nuclear program.”

“In seven years, that deal will have expired and Iran is free to go ahead and create nuclear weapons,” said Trump. “That is just not an acceptable situation.”

Despite his agreement with Netanyahu, Trump refused to address the possible US withdrawal from the nuclear deal this month.  “We’ll see what happens,” Trump said. “I’m not telling you what I’m doing. [A lot] of people think they know. And on or before the 12, we’ll make a decision.”

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