Benjamin Netanyahu’s performance earlier today didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know about Iran’s nuclear program, but it has given the Trump administration a pretext to tell some amazing lies about it:

None of this is true in the least. There is no nuclear weapons program in Iran, and there haven’t been any activities in Iran related to researching such weapons for 15 years. The purpose of the nuclear deal was to make sure that Iran’s nuclear program would remain a peaceful one, and it is doing exactly that. Blowing up the deal based on falsehoods and lies would be a colossal mistake that the U.S. would regret for a very long time to come.

The White House’s statement is as brazen and shameless a lie as one could tell about Iran’s nuclear program. That is consistent with the behavior we have come to expect from Iran hawks generally and from this administration in particular: when there is no evidence to support their position, they simply make it up out of thin air. There is no good reason to renege on the nuclear deal, so they are reduced to spinning dishonest tales about a nuclear weapons program that doesn’t exist.

It is very important to understand that there is absolutely no merit to the White House’s claim. Trump and his advisers are openly peddling egregious lies to justify the president’s decision to renege on the deal in two weeks. The Trump White House’s willingness to spread such a fabrication publicly tells us how determined they are to wreck the nuclear deal. Trump isn’t going to be swayed from doing that now, but it is essential that he not be allowed to get away with lying about a serious matter of national security.

Update: The White House was embarrassed by widespread criticism into issuing a correction, but they were clearly trying to mislead the public with the original statement: