"Arms Control Wonk" Jeffrey Lewis claims in Foreign Policy:

There was nothing new in Netanyahu’s presentation ... Moreover, the archive contains little or no information that wasn’t already available to the IAEA and the rest of the world at the time the JCPOA was signed. ... As a result, Netanyahu’s description of Iran’s pre-2003 nuclear weapons program — and let’s be clear, this is historical material — contains no new revelations that have not already been detailed by the IAEA in its final report on Iran’s nuclear weapons program, “Final Assessment on Past and Present Outstanding Issues regarding Iran’s Nuclear Programme.” You know, the one that concluded Iran had a “coordinated effort” to conduct “a range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device” — that is, a nuclear weapons program.

This refers to Benjamin Netanyahu presentation about Iran's nuclear program, given on 30.4.18. I sorta doubt this claim - no new substantial information - because many commentators treat the presentation as a smoking gun.

Here's one critizism of the claim "nothing new", in the Times of Israel:

Netanyahu’s critics further assert that there was nothing new in the material he presented — nothing new in the showcasing of Iran’s own evidence of its deceit, and of the specifics of its nuclear weapons program. First of all, that criticism is patently false. The International Atomic Energy Agency, in its own reporting, has never claimed to have attained remotely comparable access to Iran’s own documentation. The Mossad spirited out 100,000 files. The P5+1 negotiators should race to pore over the material.

From this, though, it appears that the only "new" information is the existence of a nuclear weapon program pre-2003.

  • 2
    many commentators treat the presentation as a smoking gun, do they? I've seen rather the opposite: underwhelmed.
    – gerrit
    Commented May 3, 2018 at 10:10
  • 1
    I've seen both, it may be a feature of my local filter bubble. I've linked the ToI piece to show that Mr. Lewis claim is not uncontested.
    – mart
    Commented May 3, 2018 at 10:51
  • David Horowitz adds nothing new. He would support the presentation regardless of its actual utility.
    – Foo Bar
    Commented May 4, 2018 at 20:43
  • We can't know, because he is not disclosing this (two decade old) information, without giving any reason for secrecy. Commented May 5, 2018 at 3:50

1 Answer 1


The Washington Post says that the United States has been given a copy of the archive and quotes a spokesman of the US National Security Council as saying:

[it] described “an Iranian effort from 1999-2003 to develop nuclear weapons” [and] “adds new and compelling details"

So the information is new details about the 1999-2003 program.

  • 4
    Correction: The US NSC claims there is new information. Commented May 4, 2018 at 17:43
  • @MartinSchröder isn't that exactly what the answer says?
    – Federico
    Commented May 9, 2018 at 11:35
  • 3
    @Federico: No: "So the information is new details about the 1999-2003 program." Commented May 9, 2018 at 13:00
  • @MartinSchröder happy to take this to chat. isn't "new details" a subset of "new information"? saying that there are new details does not negate new information, and viceversa. no?
    – Federico
    Commented May 9, 2018 at 13:08
  • @Federico: "Adds new details" implies the general information was already known, as well as some of the details, and it is only additional details which have been added.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Jan 30, 2019 at 23:22

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