Netanyahu: Atomic Watchdog’s ‘surrender’ to Iran is a ‘black mark’ on the agency

Prime Minister Netanyahu excoriates IAEA decision to close probes of Iran’s nuclear program, calling move ‘surrender’ that leaves ‘black mark’ on the agency’s legacy.

By Pesach Benson, TPS

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s “surrender” to Iran is a “black mark” on the UN watchdog, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the beginning of Sunday’s weekly Cabinet meeting.

He was referring to the IAEA’s decision to end its probe into a nuclear facility in Marivan, in western Iran, where traces of uranium were found in 2019. According to Iran, the IAEA also closed a separate investigation into uranium particles found in the underground Fordow facility.

“Regarding Iran – Iran continues to lie to the International Atomic Energy Agency – IAEA. The IAEA’s surrender to Iranian pressure is a black mark on its conduct,” said Netanyahu.

“We revealed information to the world that we brought Iran’s secret nuclear archive to Israel five years ago. Information that unequivocally proved that Iran violates the inspection agreements and that it operates in the nuclear field for military purposes and not for innocent civilian purposes,” the Prime Minister added, referring to the Mossad’s 2018 theft of an entire archive of Iranian nuclear documents.

“The excuses that Iran has provided in the years since then, for having nuclear material in prohibited places, these excuses are not only unreliable, they are not even technically possible. The lax conduct of the IAEA in the face of these failed excuses sends a message to the rulers of Iran that they are not required to pay any price for their violations and that they can continue to deceive the international community in their attempts to obtain nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said.

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“If the Atomic Energy Agency becomes a political organization, its monitoring activities in Iran will have no meaning, nor will the reports it produces on Iran’s nuclear activities have any meaning. In any case, Israel under our leadership does not stand by. We stand our ground firmly both in public and behind closed doors.”

Netanyahu also said that Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi returned from the US where they held high level discussions regarding Iran.

Netanyahu also expressed his condolences to three soldiers killed on the Egyptian border on Saturday, congratulated Israel’s under-20 soccer team for advancing to the World Cup semi-finals, and said that a committee being formed to lower the cost of living would begin meeting this week.