The Israeli Mossad’s seizure of a trove of Iranian nuclear documents in 2018 uncovered the fact that Iran had stolen classified International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) documents and used them to cover up its nuclear activities, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
Intelligence sources told the WSJ that the Iranians stole the internal IAEA reports in 2004 and circulated them among senior nuclear, military, and government officials to prepare for IAEA inspections by preparing appropriate cover stories and forging information.
Israel found handwritten notes in Persian attached to the stolen IAEA documents, with one note urging senior nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was eliminated in 2021, to contrive a plausible explanation for the IAEA about a change in the liquidation date of a civilian company that Iran had claimed was working on a uranium mine. In truth, the mine was built to produce nuclear materials, former IAEA officials and Middle Eastern intelligence officials told WSJ.
Another Iranian document seen by the WSJ outlined measures that Iran took to hide a container with radiation-monitoring equipment from IAEA inspectors.
“Iran could design answers that admit to what the IAEA already knows, give away information that it will likely discover on its own, and at the same time better hide what the IAEA does not yet know that Iran wants to keep that way,” David Albright, head of the Institute for Science and International Security, told the WSJ.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett responded to the report by stating: “The exposure of Iran’s systematic program to deceive the IAEA – which was based around documents that Iran stole from the IAEA – is a wake-up call to the world. This is additional proof of Iranian efforts to advance toward achieving nuclear weapons.”
“The systematic policy of fraud, theft and concealing evidence by Iran against the IAEA should now become a definitive fact in the eyes of the international community. Apart from the deception, the documents attest to prohibited and ongoing nuclear activity, which reveals new issues that demand investigation.”
“In light of the foregoing, the time has come for the IAEA Board of Governors to issue a clear message to Iran: Enough!”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)