UNITED NATIONS (CN) – Brandishing props, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran before the U.N. General Assembly of having a secret atomic site in the country’s capital.
“Today, I am revealing the site of a second facility,” Netanyahu said, holding a placard with the title “Iran’s Secret Atomic Sites” and pointing his finger at a map of Tehran.
Swapping visuals, Netanyahu pulled out another sign with a photograph of an imposing and gated building that he claimed to be the site. He claims that Iran removed 15 kilograms of radioactive material from that site and spread it around Iran to hide the evidence.
“Now I also have a message today for the tyrants of Tehran,” Netanyahu said. “Israel knows what you’re doing, and Israel knows where you’re doing it. Israel will never let a regime that calls for our destruction to develop nuclear weapons. Not now, not in 10 years, not ever.”
The Israeli prime minister’s penchant for theatrics has not always achieved its desired results. Six years ago, Netanyahu stood before the same green dais holding a “Looney Tunes”-style bomb, using a red marker to warn that Iran’s nuclear weapons program had been reaching the stage of detonating the fuse.
If Netanyahu had tried to frighten the world body into action in 2012, the cartoonish image landed with ridicule, and then-U.S. President Barack Obama continued to take his time with six other world powers toward reaching his landmark nuclear deal. Netanyuhu has been fighting to scuttle that agreement ever since.
“Israel is deeply grateful to President Trump for his bold decision to withdraw from the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran,” Netanyahu said.
Few member states inside the United Nations share his opinion, with speech after speech in the general debate lamenting the decline in multilateralism.
After Trump’s speech on Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron bemoaned that “pressure from a single stakeholder” aimed to scuttle the agreement through “posturing, which will certainly be pointless in the end.”
During a Security Council meeting this morning meanwhile, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov slammed Trump’s withdrawal as “based on bogus pretexts.” Lavrov also said it signaled that any attempted denuclearization agreement with North Korea could be broken.
Accusing the world community of ignoring intelligence gleaned from what he called his country’s “daring raid” from February, Netanyahu dared inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to verify his claim.
“Remember when we were told that inspections could take place ‘Anytime, anywhere’?” the prime minister asked. “Well, how about inspections right here and right now?”
The agency’s press department did not respond to a request for comment.
Earlier Thursday, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas slammed the Trump administration for undermining the two-state solution.
“We awaited his peace initiative with utmost patience but were shocked by decisions and actions he undertook that completely contradict the role and commitment of the United States towards the peace process,” Abbas said.
Contradicting decades of U.S. diplomacy, the Trump administration moved the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, closed the office of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and cut off humanitarian assistance to organizations that work in the occupied territories.
“It is ironic that the American administration still talks about what they call the ‘deal of the century,’” Abbas added, mocking a boast Trump made at a scattershot press conference on Wednesday. “But what is left for this administration to give to the Palestinian people?”
Abbas said that hope for any two-state solution had also been cut off by “racist” Israeli legislation known as the “Nation-State Law of the Jewish People,” which marginalized the country’s roughly 20 percent Arab minority.
“This law will inevitably lead to the creation of one racist state, an apartheid state, and nullifies the two-state solution,” he added.
Bristling at the remark, Netanyahu said: “President Abbas, you proudly pay Palestinian terrorists who murder Jews.”
“In fact, the more they slay, the more you pay,” he said. “That’s in their law too, and you condemn Israel’s morality?”
The Trump administration cited Palestinian government payments via its “martyrs fund” in signing the Taylor Force Act, cutting foreign aid.
With any peace between Israel and the Palestinians as remote as ever, Trump said at a recent press conference that he accepted that breaking the impasse is crucial to peace in the reason.