Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims Iran had a secret atomic warehouse in Tehran, holding up a map. In a tweet, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif derided the Israeli presentation as an "arts and craft show".

Netanyahu presented maps and photos of what he said is a
Netanyahu presented maps and photos of what he said is a "secret atomic warehouse" in the Turquzabad district of Tehran, concealed as a rug-cleaning operation. (Reuters)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday accused Iran of hiding nuclear-related material at a warehouse in Tehran, which he said proved it had not abandoned its nuclear weapons programme. Hours later, Iran dismissed the allegation as an "arts and craft show".

In a speech at the UN General Assembly, Netanyahu used pictures and diagrams to show where some 15 kilogrammes of radioactive material had been stored and called on the UN's atomic agency to head to the locations immediately with Geiger counters.

"Today I am disclosing for the first time that Iran has another secret facility in Tehran, a secret atomic warehouse for storing massive amounts of equipment and material from Iran's secret nuclear programme," Netanyahu said in a speech that was mostly aimed at Iran.

Iran says world will laugh at Netanyahu's claims

The world will laugh at Netanyahu's claims about a secret atomic warehouse in Tehran, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said, according to Fars News.

"The world will only laugh loudly at this type of false, meaningless and unnecessary speech," Qassemi said. 

In a tweet, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif derided the Israeli presentation as an "arts and craft show" by a country that he said needed to come clean about its own nuclear programme.

Europe appeasing Iran?

Under the nuclear deal struck by Iran and six major powers –Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States – Tehran agreed to limit its nuclear programme in return for relief from US and other economic sanctions.

The International Atomic Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly said Tehran was abiding by its commitments to the deal. France, Britain, Germany, China and Russia have stayed in the pact, vowing to save it despite the restoration of US sanctions on Iran.

"While the United States is confronting Iran with new sanctions, Europe and others are appeasing Iran by trying to help it bypass those new sanctions," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu said Iran has used its money and weapons "to fuel its vast war machine" instead of improving the lives of its people, building schools and hospitals. 

Iran training Hezbollah

Neither the IAEA nor Iran were immediately available for comment.

The Israeli leader also lambasted Iran's ballistic missile activity, identifying three locations near Beirut airport where he said Lebanon's Hezbollah was converting missiles.

"In Lebanon, Iran is directing Hezbollah to build secret sites to convert inaccurate projectiles into precision-guided missiles, missiles that can target deep inside Israel within an accuracy of 10 metres," he said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies