How the Mossad Broke Into an Iranian Facility and Stole Half a Ton of Nuclear Files

Using blowtorches in the dead of night: The operatives had six hours and 29 minutes to break into the warehouse, obtain the files and flee, reports the New York Times

A photo Israel says it obtained of a building at the Parchin military site, housing a test chamber for high-explosive experiments.

An operation by the Mossad earlier this year to steal files relating to Iran's nuclear program was conducted on January 31, according to a report by the New York Times. Mossad operatives broke into a warehouse in an industrial area in Tehran and, according to the report, had six hours and 29 minutes to finish the job before the morning shift arrived at 7 A.M. During this limited time, they disabled the alarms, broke through two doors, burned open dozens of safes and fled the city with the documents.

The agents were carrying blowtorches that burned at some 2,000 degrees Celsius to cut through the safes, according to the Times,. The report suggests that Israel may have had help on the inside, since it says that the Mossad agents knew exactly which safes to break into – leaving many of the others untouched. At the end of the night, the agents fled with half a ton of secret materials, including 50,000 pages and 163 compact discs containing files, videos and plans.

An Iranian image of a test chamber used to conduct high-explosives experiments.

The Iranians began storing the files at the warehouse after signing a landmark 2015 accord on its nuclear program with the United States, European powers, Russia and China. The deal gave the UN nuclear watchdog access to suspected nuclear sites in Iran.

Israel claims that after signing the agreement, the Iranian regime collected files from across the country about the nuclear program, storing them at the warehouse. The warehouse wasn't guarded around the clock so as to not arouse suspicion.

Click here to read documents submitted to foreign journalists

The report was based on briefings Israel gave Western media outlets last week and included details from the stolem documents, which were presented in April by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a prime time address.

The report further stated that Israeli officials said Tehran received help for its nuclear program from Pakistan and from other foreign experts.

Another report, from the Washington Post, says that Iran was on the verge of acquiring "key bombmaking technologies" when the program, code-named Project Amad, was halted some 15 years ago.