Following earlier Iranian attacks against the site, a surprise Israeli air strike heavily damages the Osiraq research reactor, which Iraq had purchased from France. Israel claims the reactor is part of a secret Iraqi nuclear weapons program and that IAEA monitoring of the facility is insufficient. These arguments remain controversial; some experts believe the attack actually pushed Iraq’s nuclear activities underground. The revelation in the early 1990s of a secret Iraqi nuclear weapons program underscores the importance of a strong international safeguards regime, which can detect and halt such undeclared activities.
Nuclear Energy Guide: Timeline by the Council on Foreign Relations