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article imageIran FM rejects Israeli atomic warehouse claims as 'show'

By AFP     Sep 28, 2018 in World

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday dismissed Israeli claims that Tehran was harbouring a secret atomic warehouse.

"No arts & craft show will ever obfuscate that Israel is only regime in our region with a *secret* and *undeclared* nuclear weapons programme," Zarif said in a tweet.

He called on Israel saying it was "time to fess up and open its illegal nuclear weapons" programme to international inspectors.

"How can Israel, as the only holder of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, so shamelessly accuse a country whose programmes have repeatedly been declared as peaceful by the IAEA," the UN nuclear watchdog, Iran's official IRNA news agency quoted Zarif as saying.

He said Israel and the United States stood "alone" on the world stage, as "policies forced by Netanyahu on America" had driven them both to isolation.

Zarif was responding to allegations made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday in a speech to the UN General Assembly, embellished by ample use of the colourful props that have become his trademark.

Netanyahu held up a map and a photograph of an outwardly "innocent looking compound" which he said was a secret atomic warehouse in Tehran and urged the IAEA to inspect.

"Today, I'm disclosing for the first time that Iran has another secret facility in Tehran, a secret atomic warehouse for storing massive amounts of equipment and materiel from Iran's secret nuclear weapons programme," he said.

Israel, along with Saudi Arabia and its allies, are the main supporters of US President Donald Trump's abandonment of a landmark 2015 nuclear accord between the major powers and Iran.

The move, announced in May and accompanied by the subsequent reimposition of crippling US sanctions, has put Washington at odds with other major powers, including longstanding allies.

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