Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has revealed what he says are "secret nuclear files" proving Iran once covertly pursued nuclear weapons. He said thousands of pages of material obtained by Israel showed Iran had deceived the world by denying it had ever sought nuclear weapons. Iran agreed in 2015 to curb its nuclear energy programme in return for the lifting of sanctions. It maintained that it had only been pursuing nuclear energy. US President Donald Trump, who has long threatened to scrap the nuclear deal, said the situation was not "acceptable" and he would make a decision on the deal on or before 12 May.
US Energy Secretary Rick Perry has approved six secret authorisations for companies to sell nuclear power technology and assistance to Saudi Arabia, according to a copy of a document seen by the Reuters news agency. The Trump administration has quietly pursued a wider deal on sharing US nuclear power technology with Saudi Arabia, which aims to build at least two nuclear power plants. Perry's approvals, known as Part 810 authorisations, allow companies to do preliminary work on nuclear power in advance of any deal but not ship equipment that would go into a plant, a source with knowledge of the agreements told Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity. The approvals were first reported by the Daily Beast. The Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) said in the document that the companies had requested that the Trump administration keep the approvals secret.
North Korea's nuclear development activities have long been a source of international condemnation and nuclear war threats. North Korea carried its first successful nuclear test in 2006, while its nuclear programme started in the Soviet era with the construction of its first nuclear reactor in Yongbyon back in 1965. Pyongyang's latest nuclear test was in September 2016, and since then has ground-tested a new rocket engine and test-launched ballistic missiles by firing over sea. Those activities were followed by new UN sanctions on North Korea in November 2016, while the UN Security Council in February pressed to "redouble efforts" on enforcing the sanctions. At the time US President Donald Trump also said: "Obviously North Korea is a big, big problem and we will deal with that very strongly."
Israel's prime minister has accused Iran of secretly pursuing a nuclear programme amid rising tensions in the Middle East. Unveiling a shelf full of files purporting to show that Iran is "brazenly lying" when it says it does not have a nuclear programme, Benjamin Netanyahu gave a special presentation on Monday claiming to present "conclusive" evidence of the "secret programme". His presentation came against a backdrop of sustained efforts by the US administration and its allies at home and in the Middle East to cancel, or at least renegotiate, the 2015 nuclear pact signed between Iran and the US, France, Russia, Germany, China, the UK and the European Union. "You may well know that Iran's leaders repeatedly denied ever pursuing nuclear weapons ... well tonight I'm here to tell you one thing; Iran lied, big time," Netanyahu said during his presentation. He claimed that after signing the nuclear deal, Iran intensified its efforts to hide files pertaining to its nuclear programme.
In another departure from Trump's personal stance, Dan Coats, Trump's director of national intelligence, last month told a Senate hearing that, "North Korea will seek to retain its [weapons of mass destruction] capabilities and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities because its leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons as critical to regime survival."