Statement on Netanyahu’s claims that Iran lied its nuclear ambitions

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today announced what he described as a major intelligence coup for the Mossad: gathering information from Iran’s “atomic archive” that shows that Iran lied. The problem is, none of this information is new and even predates 2003. In fact, if this information reminds us of anything, it is that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is serving a vital purpose for our security -- and Israel’s -- because it doesn’t matter whether Iran lies; the agreement provides for intrusive inspections that will catch cheating and prevent Iran from enriching or producing fissile material that could be used in weapons.

As Diplomacy Works Advisory Council member Thomas Countryman said, “There is no new information and the concern that Mr. Netanyahu emphasized that Iran retains residual technical knowledge that is useful in constructing a weapon is exactly the reason the JCPOA should be upheld -- to deny Iran the fissile material necessary to execute that knowledge.”

The bottom line is that this isn’t fake news, but it is old news. Nothing the Prime Minister announced with a flourish will come as a surprise to the U.S. Government. And the negotiators of the Iran nuclear deal wrote it with the assumption that Iran would mislead if given the opportunity. That is why if includes the toughest monitoring and verification provisions in the history of nonproliferation agreements. Additionally, nothing the Prime Minister discussed suggests that Iran is not complying with the agreement.

While the Trump Administration, including newly minted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who just visited Israel, is likely to point to these “revelations” as evidence to support their plan to exit the JCPOA on May 12, we know this is just another abuse of the facts.