In a special address Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu stood before a slideshow presentation and claimed Israel obtained half a ton of top-secret data relating to Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program. Most experts will agree that Netanyahu's speech brought nothing new, but here we'll explain why his presentation is purely charlatan and why his PR agents heavily ridiculed themselves:
Let's start with the alleged site. Netanyahu said: "After signing the nuclear deal in 2015, Iran intensified its efforts to hide its secret nuclear files. In 2017, Iran moved its nuclear weapons files to a highly secret location in Tehran. This is the Shorabad District in southern Tehran. This is where they kept the atomic archives. Right here. Few Iranians knew where it was, very few, and also a few Israelis. Now, from the outside, this was an innocent looking compound. It looks like a dilapidated warehouse. But from the inside, it contained Iran’s secret atomic archives locked in massive files. Actually, they’re a little bigger than this, okay?"
This location truly exist and it can be found at 35°29'40"N 51°21'24"E:
A closer look at the maps reveals interesting details about this alleged super-secret site. Only ten meters from the alleged archive, on the other side of the road, there's a Siemens warehouse. Fifty meters northwest, there are the industrial plants of Tehran Halab, a company which produces various kind of tin cans. At the same distance to the northeast there is a carpet store of Zollanvari Rugs, and to the southwest and south there's a Bagh restaurant, a mosque and the Sedaye Moaaser book warehouse. A few meters further south there's a club "Bashgah-e Savarkar-e Shahab" whose name may sound suspicious because "Shahab" is the name of the Iranian ballistic missile family, but unfortunately for Netanyahu it's actually a "Shahab Horse Club." The photo gallery of this club is available online and the location can easily be identified by the six-leafed fountain.
The entire area is evidently purely civilian and is accessible to everyone on multiple sides, it's not fenced and there are no checkpoints or observation posts, as is the case with thousands of highly sensitive locations all over Iran. Now, why would Iran ignore using one of those secured locations, including many underground facilities, but keep it alongside restaurants, carpet stores, and equestrian clubs? According to Netanyahu, Iran built the Fordow Uranium Enrichment Facility under a mountain, and added "You don't put thousands of centrifuges under a mountain to produce medical isotopes, you put them there for one reason: nuclear weapons." Well, you don't use garage-like storage to keep all related documents either. What makes sense in all this is the proximity of the equestrian club called "Shahab" which reveals to us that some charlatan without any intelligence experience, either from Netanyahu's Likud party or some PR agency, searched the rocket terms on Google and chose industrial looking location for a bizarre PowerPoint show.
Amount of documents
There is serious doubt about the amount of material presented, which Netanyahu claims to be the "incriminating documents, incriminating charts, incriminating presentations, incriminating blueprints, incriminating photos, incriminating videos and more." Let's compare these two photos:
On the left, Margaret Hamilton is standing next to the navigation software that she and her MIT team produced for the NASA's biggest and costliest Apollo Project, used for the Moon landing missions. And on the right, there are at least twelve huge safes with alleged documents related to the Iranian nuclear weapon plans. Netanyahu claimed "a few weeks ago, in a great intelligence achievement, Israel obtained half a ton of the material inside these vaults," and that they got "fifty-five thousand pages, plus another 55,000 files on 183 CDs." In both cases, i.e. the overall and collected material, it's obviously a gross exaggeration. Alleged story of discovering Syrian secret weapons program by copying contents from two USB flash drives, accidentally found in a hotel room of a senior Syrian official who traveled to London, seems reasonable. But discovery and transfer of half a ton of material from Iran to Israel is simply impossible. Of course, unless it's all kept in a garage-like storage, as Netanyahu claims it was. An additional reason for doubt is the inconsistency of the attached photographs. The satellite image and the photograph of facade show 12 to 15 meters wide hall, while the interior photograph shows 5 to 6 meters wide space.
If Israel really collected some important material that proves the military dimension of the Iranian nuclear program, it would be pointed out proudly at the presentation, but that is not the case. Photographs of technical elements show uranium enrichment centrifuges, already well known to everyone, and the drawings are not of technical nature but rather the simplified charts that can be found all over the Internet, even in the children's encyclopedias. One of such, claimed to be "an original Iranian diagram," is especially ridiculous (on the right):
This is obviously a charlatan work by some Likud's PR member because a gun-type fission design is packed awkwardly at the top of the cone, representing a warhead of an Iranian missile. Even a first-year student of any tech university knows to determine the center of mass (i.e. the centroid of isosceles triangle), which is close to the base, and since the heaviest part on chart is positioned at the very top, it would make serious issues: powerful oscillations, unstable flight, and possible rip off from the main (cylindrical) body. As for the left diagram, almost identical can be found on the websites on the history of nuclear weapons.