Satellite photos analyzed by The Associated Press reveal a large construction project taking place at a secretive Israeli nuclear facility near the city of Dimona. The Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center is home to laboratories that are used to obtain weapons-grade plutonium for Israel’s undeclared nuclear bombs.
The pictures show what AP describes as a “dig about the size of a soccer field” near where the facility’s reactor is located. Israel did not respond to requests for a comment on the images.
The images first surfaced last week, and Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif pointed out the hypocrisy in Western leaders who ignore Israel’s secretive nuclear weapons program while obsessively focusing on Iran’s civilian nuclear program that is subject to stringent inspections. Zarif described the Dimona facility as the region’s only “nuclear bomb factory.”
Israeli officials are also constantly accusing Iran of having a secret nuclear weapons program when it is Israel that is secretly making nuclear bombs. The images come as Israel is warning against a revival of the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.
Because the JCPOA does not last forever, Israel claims it will lead to a nuclear-armed Iran. But that ignores the fact that Iran is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which forbids it from ever obtaining nuclear weapons. Israel, on the other hand, refuses to sign the NPT.