Reacting to the recent U.S. National Intelligence Estimate, Israeli officials are saying that Iran is most likely continuing its nuclear weapons program.
"It looks like Iran stopped its programme to create an atom bomb in 2003 for a certain time, but as far as we know, it has since probably renewed it," Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak has concluded.
Meanwhile, an also unconvinced Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has announced, "We will make every effort - first and foremost with our friends in the U.S. - to prevent the production of this type of weapon."
Released on Mon., the NIE said Iran had halted its atomic weapons program in 2003 and seemed less determined to develop nuclear arms than previously believed.
But Israeli officials have confided in anonymous conversations with the media that Israel feared the report would weaken its push for tougher sanctions against Iran, who it considers its greatest regional strategic threat.
Barak, asked if the report weakened the case for a U.S. military strike against Iran, said, "It is not our job to make estimates of this kind about the U.S. position. It is our job to speak as little as possible. Words don't stop missiles."
In the latest developments, the Jerusalem Post is reporting that Israel's own Military Intelligence will present its hard core evidence on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program on Sunday to the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Admiral Michael Mullen will land in Israel Sunday morning for a 24-hour visit that will include a one-on-one meeting with IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, as well as with Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Mullen's visit will be the first time a chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has visited Israel in the past decade. Mullen was in Israel with his wife two years ago when he was the commander of the Navy, reported the Post.
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