Israelis discuss US report on Iran

Meetings under way but Olmert rejects minister's attack on US intelligence estimate.

    Olmert used a cabinet meeting to distance himself from a colleague's views on the US estimate [AFP]

    The US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran, released on December 3, said that Iran halted its nuclear weapons programme in 2003 "in response to international pressure".
     
    It also said that it could state with "moderate confidence" that the programme had not restarted.
     
    Critical assessment
     
    Avi Dichter, Israel's public security minister, had criticised the assessment, saying it could lead to a regional war that would threaten Israel.
     

    "Something went wrong in the American blueprint for analysing the severity of the Iranian nuclear threat," he said on Sunday.

     
    He also suggested that Israel could no longer trust the US intelligence.
     

    "Something went wrong in the American blueprint for analysing the severity of the Iranian nuclear threat"

    Avi Dichter, Israeli Public Security Minister

    Distancing himself from Dichter's comments, Olmert said during Israel's weekly cabinet meeting that they "did not improve our ties with the US", according to senior government official.
     

    Olmert has himself rejected the report, saying that Iran continues its activities to attain components necessary to produce nuclear weapons.

    Israel

    has for years been warning that Iran is working on nuclear weapons and has backed the US in its international efforts to exert pressure on Iran to stop the programme.

    However, Iran says its programme is only for peaceful purposes, with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, calling the NIE report a "great victory" for Iran.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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