Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with foreign diplomats, December 16, 2016 (Kobi Gideon / GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a group of diplomats on Sunday that Israeli agents continue to operate inside Iran as part of Israel’s efforts to thwart the nuclear ambitions of the Islamic republic.
“We are fighting all over the world in regards to Iran’s nuclear program,” he said at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters in Jerusalem.
“We also visit there periodically… to ‘catch up,’” Netanyahu added without giving specific details.
Netanyahu was a vocal opponent of the US-led nuclear deal between Iran and Western powers in 2015 that lifted painful economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.
The Israeli leader has repeatedly argued that the Obama-era deal will not prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, after its restrictions expire in the next decade or so. US President Donald Trump, with whom Netanyahu is closely allied, withdrew from the accord in May and reimposed sanctions.
Israel has admitted to covert operations inside Iran to thwart its nuclear program and undermine the agreement.
In April, Israel announced it had smuggled out of Iran more than 100,000 documents from a Tehran archive detailing the country’s nuclear program.
Netanyahu said at the time that the cache proved the Iranian leaders covered up their nuclear weapons program before signing the nuclear agreement. Iran has not acknowledged the alleged seizure.
In September, Netanyahu in his address at the UN General Assembly revealed what he said was a “secret atomic warehouse” outside Tehran, which contained nuclear materials that Iran was not allowed to posses without declaring them to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Both the archive and warehouse, he said in his UN speech, were proof that Iran had not given up its nuclear program.
He accused the IAEA of failing to investigate the cache of documents smuggled out of Iran by Israeli agents, and said he revealed the existence of the Tehran warehouse in an effort to goad the UN’s nuclear watchdog into taking action.