Mossad Discovered Iranian Nuclear Archive in 2016 and Smuggled It to Israel in January, Official Says

Mossad agents smuggled the documents from a 'dilapidated warehouse' back to Israel in a one-night operation, NY Times reports ■ Mossad chief informed Trump of the operation during his January visit to Washington

Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv, Israel April 30, 2018.
\ AMIR COHEN/ REUTERS

Israel's Mossad intelligence service raided a secret location in Tehran that looked like "a dilapidated warehouse" and removed original documents on the nuclear weapons program to smuggle back to Israel in a one-night operation last January, officials told The New York Times.

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A senior Israeli official said that Mossad discovered the warehouse in February 2016 and had the building under surveillance since then, according to the report.

Mossad chief Yossi Cohen then informed U.S. President Donald Trump about the raid during a visit to Washington in January, the official said, stating that the delay was attributed to the time it took to analyze the documents. A vast majority of them were in Persian.

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In a press conference on the Iran nuclear deal, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed to the world the seized documents, calling out the deal as being based on "lies."

At the conference on Monday, Netanyahu presented 55,000 pages of documents and 183 CDs, and blasted Iran for hiding an "atomic archive" of documents on its nuclear program.

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"Now, from the outside, this was an innocent looking compound," Netanyahu said about the warehouse, adding "but from the inside, it contained Iran’s secret atomic archives locked in massive files."

"After signing the nuclear deal in 2015, Iran intensified its efforts to hide its secret files," Netanyahu said, thus in 2017, "Iran moved its nuclear weapons files to a highly secret location in Tehran." 

The documents show that Iran's Fordow nuclear plant was "designed from the get go for nuclear weapons for project Amad," Netanyahu stated, referring to the secret Iranian nuclear project codenamed "Amad." Netanyahu said Amad had been shelved in 2013, though he claimed work in the field had continued.  

"We can now prove that project Amad was a comprehensive program to design, build and test nuclear weapons," Netanyahu 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."

Trump, who spoke publicly 30 minutes after Netanyahu's speech, said that Netanyahu's speech "showed that I was 100% right" in criticizing the nuclear deal. 

>>FULL TEXT & VIDEO: Netanyahu claims Iran nuclear deal based on lies

This comes as the U.S. deadline on Iranian sanctions regarding the nuclear deal, May 12, draws near.