Photo: Xinhua/Qin Lang via Getty Images

UN inspectors have found evidence of illicit nuclear activity in an Iranian warehouse which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed in an address to the UN last September was used to store nuclear equipment and material, four Israeli officials told me.

Why it matters: The Iranians claimed at the time that the warehouse in Tehran was a carpet factory, and denied Netanyahu's accusations that it was tied to Iran's covert military nuclear program. Storing nuclear materials secretly without reporting it to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is a violation on the nuclear proliferation treaty to which Iran is a party.

Flashback: Netanyahu claimed in his speech that Iran had removed 15 kilograms of undeclared enriched uranium from the facility in August 2018. He said that was an attempt to "clean up" the secret site and hide their illicit activities from the IAEA.

  • Israel passed information about the warehouse to the IAEA, and UN inspectors visited the site several months ago, Israeli officials tell me. Their last visit was in March.
  • IAEA inspectors took soil samples to try and find evidence of radioactivity. The IAEA has since been analyzing the results and preparing a report.
  • The tests came back positive, according to the Israeli officials, and in the last few weeks it became clear that the remains of radioactive material were found at the site. The officials say that indicates Iran was storing undeclared nuclear equipment or materials.

The backdrop: The news comes ahead of an election re-run in Israel, and amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran. Netanyahu has been advocating for tough actions from the White House.

  • Yesterday, Netanyahu held his second phone call with President Trump of the past week. The call focused on Iran, and Netanyahu thanked Trump for his intention to announce new sanctions.

What's next: The officials told me Israel and the U.S. hope the IAEA will publish a report about its findings at the site and circulate it to all the member states in its board of governors soon.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 33,642,602 — Total deaths: 1,007,769 — Total recoveries: 23,387,825Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 7,191,061 — Total deaths: 205,998 — Total recoveries: 2,813,305 — Total tests: 103,155,189Map.
  3. Health: Americans won't take Trump's word on the vaccine, Axios-Ipsos poll finds.
  4. Politics: 7 former FDA commissioners say Trump is undermining agency's credibility
  5. States: NYC's coronavirus positivity rate spikes to highest since June.
  6. Sports: Tennessee Titans close facility amid NFL's first coronavirus outbreak.
  7. World: U.K. beats previous record for new coronavirus cases.
  8. Work: United States of burnout — Asian American unemployment spikes amid pandemic

In photos: Deadly wildfires devastate California's wine country

The Shady Fire ravages a home as it approaches Santa Rosa in Napa County, California, on Sept. 28. The blaze is part of the massive Glass Fire Complex, which has razed 46,600 acres at 2% containment. Photo: Samuel Corum/Agence France-Presse/AFP via Getty Images

Some 18,700 firefighters are battling 27 major blazes across California, including in the heart of the wine country, where one mega-blaze claimed the lives of three people and forced thousands of others to evacuate this week.

The big picture: 8,155 wildfires have burned across a record 3.86 million acres, killing 26 people and razing almost 7,900 structures in California this year, per Cal Fire. Just like the deadly blazes of 2017, the wine country has become a wildfires epicenter. Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma, and Shasta counties.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The first Trump v. Biden presidential debate was a hot mess

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

This debate was like the country: Everybody’s talking. Nobody’s listening. Nothing is learned. It’s a mess.

  • We were told President Trump would be savage. Turned out, that was a gross understatement. Even the moderator, Fox News' Chris Wallace, got bulldozed.

Why it matters: Honestly, who the hell knows?