Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Barak: Israeli intelligence contradicts US intelligence on Iranian bomb

If anyone thought there is intelligence coordination between the US and Israel, they can forget about it. But since Bush and British Foreign Secretary Miliband also, essentially, disagree with the US National Intelligence Estimate, it is not surprising that Israeli intelligence doesn't agree either.
Ami Isseroff
Barak: Iran still pursuing nuclear bomb
Defense minister says Israeli intelligence disputes new US report claiming Iran no longer pursuing development of nuclear weapon. Meanwhile US President Bush says report only strengthens American resolve to push for more sanctions: 'Iran still poses danger to world'
"And there is much that needs to be done regarding the Iranian nuclear program. We need to take action in applying sanctions, in exercising diplomacy and in other venues as well."
Israeli intelligence disputes the report's conclusion, Barak said, and still believes Tehran is still trying to develop a nuclear weapon: ''It's apparently true that in 2003 Iran stopped pursuing its military nuclear program for a time. But in our opinion, since then it has apparently continued that program."
In a new assessment made public on Monday, the US National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, a synthesis of information from American spy agencies, concluded that Iran has suspended its attempt to build a nuclear weapon. The unclassified summary marked a surprising reversal of the previous US view that Iran is aggressively pursuing a nuclear weapons program.
''There are differences in the assessments of different organizations in the world about this, and only time will tell who is right," Barak said.
Asked if the new US assessment reduced chances that the US will launch a military strike on Iran, Barak said that was ''possible.''
However, he said, ''We cannot allow ourselves to rest just because of an intelligence report from the other side of the earth, even if it is from our greatest friend.''

Bush: Military option still on the table
Meanwhile on Tuesday, US President George W. Bush said that the international community should continue to pressure Iran on its nuclear programs, saying Tehran remains dangerous despite the new report.

''I view this report as a warning signal that they had the program, they halted the program,'' Bush said. ''The reason why it's a warning signal is they could restart it."

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