Additional details from the Mossad’s audacious operation in the heart of Tehran are continuing to emerge in the wake of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s dramatic speech on Iran’s nuclear program.
Hadashot evening news reported on Tuesday that on Jan. 31—10 days before an Iranian drone breached Israeli airspace and was downed by an Israel Air Force Apache helicopter—the Iranians discovered the massive security breach, attempted to chase after the perpetrators and were “right on their tail.”
Nevertheless, the Mossad agents managed to get the documents and themselves out of Iran. Most of the details surrounding the daring mission remain classified, including the code name that the spy agency assigned the operation.
Once the sensitive material arrived in Israel, numerous discussions were held to determine what to do with it. Some believed that, similar to past instances, the information should be anonymously leaked to foreign media outlets. Ultimately, however, due to a combination of factors, the decision was made to go public with the information without compromising intelligence sources and methods.
The translation of the documents required a large team of analysts, nuclear experts and Farsi speakers specially recruited for the task.
According to the report, the Mossad eventually exhausted its resources and asked the Israel Defense Forces’s Military Intelligence Directorate to assist in the translation and analysis operation.
On Wednesday morning, Israeli intelligence officials were expected to hand over the most important documents — including those Netanyahu did not reveal Monday — to intelligence officials from Germany, France, Russia, Italy, China and Britain, as well as to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
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Netanyahu’s press conference on Monday garnered considerable coverage by the foreign press, shining a light on the issue ahead of US President Donald Trump’s impending May 12 decision on whether to extend sanctions relief or withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran altogether.
In an interview with CNN on Tuesday, Netanyahu said Iran does “not want the world to know what I showed the world yesterday.”
Addressing concerns that recent events could lead to a regional war, Netanyahu said: “Nobody is seeking that kind of development.”
He also rejected the claim that he had revealed little that was not already known by the international community, saying that had world powers had this information in 2015, they would not have agreed to the deal.
In its main editorial, meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday reported that Netanyahu “delivered a broadside to the Iran nuclear deal” ahead of the May 12 deadline. It said Iran is trying to preserve European support “amid uncertainty” surrounding its nuclear program.
“Netanyahu says he has ‘conclusive proof’ Iran lied about its nuclear weapons program,” the British Daily Telegraph said in its headline.
The New York Times also covered the developments, writing in a headline that “Israel says secret files detail Iran’s nuclear subterfuge.”
However, according to the Times of London, Israel has “yet to convince” Europe on the nuclear deal.