The Iranian government has responded with ridicule and demands for Israel to come clean about its own undeclared—but very real—nuclear arsenal after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday claimed evidence of a secret stockpile facility in Iran during his speech before the United Nations General Assembly.
As the BBC reports:
The prime minister made Iran's nuclear activities the cornerstone of his speech at the annual UN General Assembly debate.
He criticised the global nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), for failing to question Iran about tons of material Israel secretly obtained earlier this year from a warehouse in Tehran. Israel it said proved Iran was lying about its nuclear intentions.
Mr Netanyahu said the IAEA's inactivity compelled him to publicly reveal the existence of another secret warehouse in Tehran, also used, he said, to store "massive amounts of equipment and material" related to nuclear weapons technology.
But Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif reacted to Netanyahu's speech and the accusations it contained with derisive laughter, stating on social media: "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."
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.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) September 27, 2018
Separately, Bahram Ghasemi, a spokesperson for Iran's Foreign Ministry, characterized Netanyahu's charges as "not worth talking about."
"These farcical claims and the show by the prime minister of the occupying regime (Israel) were not unexpected," Ghasemi added.
While Israel has continued to deny that it maintains a clandestine nuclear weapons program—including an arsenal estimated to include somewhere between 65 and 300 nuclear warheads—the Iranians have allowed infinitely higher levels of transparency regarding its nuclear intentions and the deal it signed with the Obama administration and other leading nations in 2015 opened it up to comprehensive international inspections that have repeatedly confirmed that no nuclear weapons activities are taking place within Iran.