Israel: We must be in on Iran talks

Wednesday, December 12, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

Responding to rumors that the US government may soon engage Iran in bilateral talks, former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that Israel must insist on being directly involved in such contacts.

Halevy said Israel needs to be careful not to find itself excluded from any forum that could determine the future of the region.

Halevy went on to say he did not concur with the recently published US National Intelligence Estimate suggesting Iran had abandoned its quest for nuclear weapons in 2003. However, the former spy-master noted the international community had too quickly skimmed over the final sentence of the US report, which states that "Iran has the scientific, technical and industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons if it decides to do so."

In a separate interview with the Post, outgoing Israeli National Security Council head Ilan Mizrahi warned that even if Iran doesn't build an atomic bomb, the fact that it has the ability to do so is already destabilizing the region.

Mizrahi agreed with Halevy that the US National Intelligence Estimate had been misleading, and said the document "smelled of politics." Mizrahi said Israel is in possession of clear evidence that Iran is working to acquire nuclear weapons.

An exiled Iranian opposition group on Tuesday also took issue with the US National Intelligence Estimate, insisting that there is no doubt Iran's Islamic regime is seeking nuclear military power in order to advance its national goals.

In a statement released to the press, the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran said it feared US intelligence had been duped by Iranian double-agents.

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