Skip to main content

How Netanyahu’s nuclear 'show' could harm Mossad

While revelations by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the Iranian nuclear program exposed Tehran's lies about past efforts to reach nuclear capacity, they also revealed involuntarily that Iran has obeyed the 2015 accord.
Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 30, 2018. REUTERS/ Amir Cohen - RC11C40F3DE0

On April 30, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proved to the world that the Iranians had not told the truth about their nuclear weapons development when they signed the 2015 agreement with world powers on curbing the program. However, at the same time, his presentation also proved that since the signing, inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency had been right in reporting that the Iranians were implementing the agreement to the letter. If such a precise operation by Israel’s Mossad spy agency did not detect any sign of continued efforts to develop nuclear weapons, those claiming that Iran is adhering to its commitment would appear to be right. Netanyahu’s professional presentation cannot justify a US abrogation of its international commitment, with all it implies.

Exposing the incredible Mossad operation, which located Iran’s nuclear archives and moved a half-ton of files and CDs from a storage facility to Tel Aviv, contributed to the credibility of the claims Netanyahu made in his presentation. However, it did not justify exposing Israel’s direct involvement in thwarting Iran’s nuclear weapons program, after so many years of refusing to admit to such activity. The exposure — claimed a former very senior Mossad official who spoke to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity — could exact a steep price from the agency, both because the Iranians would seek to quickly plug the leak and because it could endanger operatives and operational procedures.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 for annual access.