Iranian diplomat accuses Netanyahu of 'smokescreen' with secret nuclear facility claims

Iranian diplomat accuses Netanyahu of 'smokescreen' with secret nuclear facility claims
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Iran's top diplomat is slamming claims from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Tehran has been concealing a "secret atomic warehouse."

"He’s just trying to find a smokescreen,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an excerpt of an interview set to air Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation."

“The previous allegations that Netanyahu made have been investigated by the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] and have been rejected," Zarif said, referring to the United Nation's (U.N.) nuclear watchdog agency.

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“Nonsense," Zarif added of Netanyahu's accusations. "He’s been wrong about the previous [allegations] and he’s wrong about this one."

The comments are Zarif’s second denial after Netanyahu accused Iran during a speech at the U.N. General Assembly this week of having a secret nuclear warehouse in Tehran.

“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 weapons program,” Netanyahu said Thursday, adding that “what Iran hides, Israel will find.” 

Zarif tweeted Thursday in reaction to Netanyahu's speech: “No arts & craft show will ever obfuscate that Israel is only regime in our region with a *secret* and *undeclared* nuclear weapons program - including an *actual atomic arsenal*. Time for Israel to fess up and open its illegal nuclear weapons program to international inspectors."

Israel has never publicly confirmed the existence of its nuclear arsenal, but it is believed to have enough weapons-grade plutonium for 100 to 200 nuclear warheads, according to The Nuclear Threat Initiative Projects.

President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump defends indicted GOP congressman House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt Youngkin calls for investigation into Loudoun County School Board amid sexual assault allegations MORE in May removed the U.S. from the nuclear deal Iran signed with the Obama administration and five other world powers.

The IAEA affirmed in August that Iran was still abiding by the deal.