Israel rejects US assessment on Iran nukes

Tuesday, December 04, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday said Israel's intelligence community does not concur with the US National Intelligence Estimate report issued on Monday that suggests Iran halted its efforts to produce nuclear weapons in 2003 and never resumed the program.

"Iran did stop its nuclear program for a time in 2003, but in our assessment, it resumed its work at a certain point," Barak told Army Radio.

US officials told the Associated Press that they believe the Iranian regime is operating according to a cost-benefit approach, and that international pressure and limited economic sanctions had apparently convinced Tehran to drop its quest for an atomic bomb.

Barak said Israel would continue to take Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at his word, and had no doubt Iran was still determined to acquire nuclear military power.

Observers noted that the US intelligence report curiously coincided with the Bush Administration's major push to resume the process of dividing the Land of Israel for the creation of a Palestinian Arab state, and saw it as an attempt to minimize other regional concerns in order to ensure the success of the "peace" process.

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