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Netanyahu: 'Iran Lied Big Time', Sought Nuclear Weapons

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JERUSALEM, Israel – In a primetime press conference Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented thousands of pages of documents he said proves Iran pursued a nuclear weapons program which the Islamic regime covered up as it negotiated a deal to end its nuclear program in 2015.

Speaking from the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv Monday evening, Netanyahu said the "half-a-ton" of material Israel has in its possession proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Iran lied "big time." He said the evidence gathered by Israeli intelligence.

Watch in-depth analysis from Chris Mitchel and Julie Stahl in our Middle East Bureau

Netanyahu spoke in English, using materials including video clips, graphics, charts, photos and blueprints as evidence that Iranian leaders lied about their nuclear ambitions, which culminated in the deal signed with world powers in July 2015.

The prime minister went into some detail about Project Amad, begun in the early 90's, whose stated goal was to "design, produce and test" five nuclear bombs that could be delivered by an intercontinental ballistic missile.

"We can now prove that project Amad was a comprehensive program to design, build and test nuclear weapons," he said. "We can also prove that Iran is secretly storing project Amad material to use at a time of its choice to develop nuclear weapons."

Netanyahu said Israel has shared the material with the United States, which "can vouch for its authenticity."

"This is a terrible deal," he said. "It should never have been concluded."

Watch Prime Minister Netanyahu's Press Conference

President Trump said Netanyahu's presentation shows he's been "100 percent right" about the Iranian nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration.

"You know this is an agreement that wasn’t approved by too many people and it’s a horrible agreement for the United States...we gave Iran $150 billion dollars and $1.8 billion in cash. You know what we got? We got nothing. We got nothing," Trump said.

Speaking at a Rose Garden press conference with the president of Nigeria, Trump said he will make a decision by May 12th, which could include working with Iran to make a new deal.

"So that doesn’t mean we won’t negotiate a new agreement, we’ll see what happens," Trump told reporters.

Netanyahu's presentation followed Sunday's meetings with newly confirmed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Iranian leaders countered by saying they will not accept any revisions to the deal.

Netanyahu said he plans to share this "great intelligence achievement" with its Western allies and the international nuclear agency.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, who represented Iran during the negotiations, mocked Netanyahu in a tweet showing the graphic of a bomb from the prime minister's 2012 presentation at the United Nations.

"The boy who can't stop crying wolf is at it again," Zarif said. "Undeterred by cartoon fiasco at UNGA. You can only fool some of the people so many times."

Iran has yet to respond to Monday's presentation.

Meanwhile, Rob Malley, former Special Assistant to President Obama said "there is nothing new" in Netanyahu's presentation.

"All it does is vindicate need for the nuclear deal," he wrote on Twitter. 

However, many disagree and view Netanyahu’s presentation as evidence that the 2015 nuclear agreement was a failure and Iran cannot be trusted. 

"The information Prime Minister Netanyahu presented today about the Iranian nuclear deal is more than a smoking gun. It's a smoking bomb," Israel's Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Ron Dermer said on Twitter. 

Adam Kredo, Foreign Policy, and National Security advisor for the Free Beacon agrees.

"Definitive proof Iran still secretly developing nuke weapons. Conclusion: Obama's Iran deal was nonsense theater to empower Iran's regional pursuit of dominance," he said on Twitter. 

On Monday,  White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released the following statement concerning Israel's documents related to Iranian nuclear weapons development.

"The United States is aware of the information just released by Israel and continues to examine it carefully.  This information provides new and compelling details about Iran’s efforts to develop missile-deliverable nuclear weapons," the statement read.   

"These facts are consistent with what the United States has long known:  Iran has a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program that it has tried and failed to hide from the world and from its own people.  The Iranian regime has shown it will use destructive weapons against its neighbors and others.  Iran must never have nuclear weapons," the statement concluded.

Faith & Freedom Coalition Executive Director Tim Head issued a statement Monday in response to Netanyahu's announcement.

“Prime Minister Netanyahu confirmed what most of the world already believed, that the Iran Nuclear Deal negotiated by the Obama administration was based on deception and was entered into recklessly," Head said in the statement. 

"The terrorist supporting regime in Tehran continues its plans to develop nuclear weapons to threaten the security of the United States and our closest ally Israel.  Supporters of Israel throughout the United States, including the over 1.7 million members of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, believe that now is the time for President Trump and Congress to institute new sanctions that will put a halt to Iran’s nuclear ambitions that threaten the stability of the region and the world," the statement continued. 


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