New details emerge on daring Mossad operation in Iran
On Jan. 31, 10 days before Israel shot down an Iranian drone that breached its airspace, the Iranians discovered the security breach in their nuclear archive, attempted to catch the perpetrators and were “right on their tail,” officials say.
(May 2, 2018 / Eli Leon and Israel Hayom Staff) Additional details from the Mossad’s audacious operation in the heart of Tehran are continuing to emerge in the wake of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s dramatic speech on Iran’s nuclear program Monday.
Hadashot evening news reported 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 even “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 codename 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 IDF’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 that 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.
Netanyahu’s press conference garnered considerable coverage by the foreign press, shining a light on the issue ahead of U.S. 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.”
Netanyahu 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 said Netanyahu “delivered a broadside to the Iran nuclear deal” ahead of Trump’s May 12 deadline.
The newspaper 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.
“Israel says secret files detail Iran’s nuclear subterfuge,” the paper said in a headline.
However, according to the Times of London, Israel has “yet to convince” Europe on the nuclear deal.