Nuclear watchdog: No proof of Iranian nuclear bomb work after 2009

There are “no credible indications of activities in Iran relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device after 2009,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said on Tuesday.

The organization issued its statement the day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled a secret cache of documents that proved Iran had a nuclear weapons program from 1999 to 2003, which it called Project Amad.

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Netanyahu said that Iran’s failure to disclose the program and the fact that it kept the documents in a secret vault was significant proof that it planed to continue to pursue that program.

He publicized the information less than two weeks before the May 12 deadline by which US President Donald Trump must decide whether or not to scrap a 2015 deal between Tehran and six world powers: the US, Russia, China, Great Britain, France and Germany.

The IAEA, which monitors Iranian compliance with the deal, did not directly respond to Netanyahu’s charges.

But on Tuesday it published a statement on its web site that hinted that Israel ha not provided any relevant evidence with regard to Iran’s nuclear program.

In December 2015 the IAEA issued a report, which showed that Iran had been developing a “nuclear explosive device” prior to 2003. But a coordinated effort to do so was then halted, although some isolated activities toward that effort continued, the IAEA said.

“These activities did not advance beyond feasibility and scientific studies, and the acquisition of certain relevant technical competences and capabilities,” the IAEA said.

“In line with standard IAEA practice, the IAEA evaluates all safeguards-relevant information available to it. However, it is not the practice of the IAEA to publicly discuss issues related to any such information," the IAEA said.

The EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and the French Foreign Ministry said the information proved the importance of the 2015 deal toward keeping Iran’s nuclear program in check.

They added they were more interested in the question of Iranian compliance with the deal now, than they were with the question of whether it lied at the time the deal was signed.

“The Iran nuclear deal is not based on trust about Iran’s intentions; rather it is based on tough verification, including measures that allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency unprecedented access to Iran’s nuclear program,” Johnson said.

“The IAEA has published 10 reports, certifying that Iran has fully complied with its commitments,” Mogherini said.

“The deal was put in place exactly because there was no trust between the parties, otherwise we would not have required a nuclear deal to be put in place,” Mogherini said.

France‘s Foreign Ministry said that information provided by Israel of Iran‘s past nuclear weapons program could be a basis for long-term monitoring of Tehran‘s nuclear activities.

Reuters contributed to this report.