Reports detail Mossad raid on Iranian nuclear documents

An Iranian security man stands next to journalists outside the reactor building at the Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant in southern Iran on August 21, 2010 during a ceremony initiating the transfer of Russia-supplied fuel to the facility after more than three decades of delay. (File photo AFP)
Updated 16 July 2018
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Reports detail Mossad raid on Iranian nuclear documents

JERUSALEM: New details have been leaked of how the Israeli spy agency Mossad smuggled out Iranian nuclear documents earlier this year, but the material does not appear to provide evidence that Iran failed to abide by its 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers.
The information reported Sunday shed more light on the daring Mossad operation but offered few other details beyond what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed in April, when he unveiled what he said was a trove of secret Iranian nuclear documents dating back to 2003 seized by Israeli intelligence.
The Israeli leader argued that the 55,000 pages of documents and 183 CDs of the Iranian program dubbed "Project Amad" provided more reason for President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal with world powers.
Iran maintains the entire document trove is fraudulent
The New York Times reported Sunday that Israeli agents had six hours and 29 minutes to break into the nondescript nuclear facility in a commercial district of the Iranian capital, Tehran, before the guards arrived in the morning. In that time, they infiltrated the facility, disabled alarms and cut through safes to remove the secret documents before leaving undetected.
It said certain documents appeared to demonstrate that Iran had worked to "systematically assemble everything it needed to produce atomic weapons," but noted that exculpatory information could have been left out of the hand-picked documents shown to its reporter.
The Washington Post reported that Iran "was as on the cusp of mastering key bomb-making technologies" when the program ended last decade.
The Associated Press was not provided access to the new details of the Mossad operation.
There was no immediate comment from Netanyahu's office.


Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

Updated 21 May 2019
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Beirut praises ‘progress’ on maritime border dispute

  • Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Lebanon insists that the area lies within its economic zone and refuses to give up a single part of it

BEIRUT: Lebanon has hinted that progress is being made in efforts to resolve its maritime border dispute with Israel following the return of a US mediator from talks with Israeli officials.

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield returned to Lebanon following talks in Israel where he outlined Lebanese demands regarding the disputed area and the mechanism to reach a settlement.

The US mediator has signaled a new push to resolve the dispute after meetings with both Lebanese and Israeli officials.

Israel and Lebanon both claim ownership of an 860-square-kilometer area of the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon hopes to begin offshore oil and gas production in the offshore Block 9 as it grapples with an economic crisis.

A source close to Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, who met with Satterfield on Monday after his return to Lebanon, told Arab News that “there is progress in the efforts, but the discussion is not yet over.” He did not provide further details.

Sources close to the Lebanese presidency confirmed that Lebanon is counting on the US to help solve the demarcation dispute and would like to accelerate the process to allow exploration for oil and gas to begin in the disputed area.

Companies that will handle the exploration require stability in the area before they start working, the sources said.

Previous efforts by Satterfield to end the dispute failed in 2012 and again last year after Lebanon rejected a proposal by US diplomat Frederick Hoff that offered 65 percent of the disputed area to Lebanon and 35 percent to Israel. Lebanon insisted that the area lies within its economic zone and refused to give up a single part of it.

Satterfield has acknowledged Lebanon’s ownership of around 500 sq km of the disputed 850 sq km area.

Lebanon renewed its commitment to a mechanism for setting the negotiations in motion, including the formation of a tripartite committee with representatives of Lebanon, Israel and the UN, in addition to the participation of the US mediator. Beirut also repeated its refusal to negotiate directly with Israel.

Two months ago, Lebanon launched a marine environmental survey in blocks 4 and 9 in Lebanese waters to allow a consortium of French, Italian and Russian companies to begin oil and gas exploration in the area.