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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.

Go deeper

Updated 11 mins ago - Economy & Business

U.S. economy grew at a 6.5% rate last quarter, missing expectations

Contractors work on a home under construction. (Photo: Micah Green/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The U.S. economy grew at an annualized 6.5% rate last quarter, the government said Thursday β€” slower than the 8.4% economists expected.

Why it matters: It came as the economy made strides toward further reopening, vaccinations rolled out and government stimulus bolstered spending. But supply crunches held the pace of growth back.

17 mins ago - Sports

U.S. gymnast Suni Lee wins Olympic gold in individual all-around

Suni Lee . Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

U.S. gymnast Sunisa "Suni" Lee won Olympic gold on Thursday in the individual all-around event.

The big picture: Simone Biles, who withdrew from the event to focus on her mental health, cheered from the stands with the rest of the women's gymnastics team as they watched Lee and teammate Jade Carey compete. Brazil's Rebeca Andrade won the silver and Russian Angelina Melnikova took the bronze.

Updated 2 hours ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Team USA's Simone Biles during the women's team final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre on Tuesday in Japan. Photo: Fred Lee/Getty Images

πŸ€ΈπŸΎβ€β™€οΈ: Simone Biles reacts to "love and support" after withdrawing from all-around gymnastics and team finals, citing her mental health

πŸƒ: U.S. pole vaulter Sam Kendricks withdraws from Games after positive coronavirus test

πŸŠβ€β™‚οΈ: Caeleb Dressel wins gold in men's 100m freestyle β€”Bobby Finke wins gold in first men's Olympic 800m freestyle

πŸ“·: In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 6 highlights

πŸ—“: The Olympic events to watch today

πŸ’΅: Olympic athletes see more sponsorship opportunities

πŸƒβ€: Female Olympians push back against double standard in uniforms

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage - Medal tracker