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US Media: Israel Smuggled Nuclear Plans Out of Tehran

FILE - An Iranian technician walks through the Uranium Conversion Facility just outside the city of Isfahan, south of the capital Tehran, in this Feb. 2007 photo.

Israel agents broke into an Iranian warehouse and smuggled out tens of thousands of pages and nearly 200 computer discs on Iranian plans to build a nuclear weapon, U.S. media reports say.

The New York Times first reported the story in its Sunday edition. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used these documents, in part, to urge President Donald Trump to pull the United States out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

Netanyahu also argued that Iran still intends to build atomic bombs in the future.

The Times said three U.S. reporters examined the documents last week at the invitation of the Israeli government. The newspaper said it appears Iran had always intended to build weapons despite constantly insisting its nuclear program was strictly for peaceful civilian purposes.

But The Times said it cannot independently confirm the documents are genuine, saying most of them are at least 15 years old.

The paper reported the Israelis picked out the papers they wanted the journalists to see -- meaning documents that could exonerate Iran may have been left out.

Iran has called the papers fraudulent. There has been no comment so far from Israel or the United States.

The Times report said most of the smuggled information focused on Iranian efforts on mounting a nuclear warhead onto a Shahab-3 missile.

But it said those efforts slowed down considerably after 2003. According to The Times, there is little information revealed in the documents that the former Obama administration -- who negotiated the deal with Iran -- and international inspectors did not already know or strongly suspect about Iran's nuclear ambitions.

The six-nation nuclear agreement with Iran calls on Tehran to curb its uranium enrichment program in exchange for sanctions to be lifted or eased.

Despite anger over the nuclear agreement by Trump and Netanyahu, international inspectors say Iran has so far not violated the deal.