Daily Revolt

December 10, 2007

Israelis Brief Top U.S. Official on Iran

The neocons and Israel have not given up their plans to attack Iran, despite the NIE:
Adm. Mike Mullen, the top military official in the United States, made an unusual visit to Israel and got a polite earful today about Israel’s gloomy assessment of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Israel thinks that an American National Intelligence Estimate about Iran’s nuclear weapons program, published in an unclassified version last week, is unduly optimistic and focuses too narrowly on the last stage of weapons development — the fashioning of a bomb out of highly enriched uranium.

[...]Israeli intelligence estimates are that Iran stopped all its nuclear weapons activities for a time in 2003, nervous after the American invasion of Iraq, but then resumed those activities in 2005, accelerating enrichment and ballistic missile development and constructing a 40-megawatt heavy-water reactor in Arak that could produce plutonium.

[...]In meetings Monday with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Israeli intelligence officials, Admiral Mullen and his staff heard out Israel’s concern that Iran is heading for a nuclear bomb, unless deterred, by the end of 2009 at the earliest, or, more likely, sometime in 2010-11.

[...]Admiral Mullen, who has been chairman of the joint chiefs only a few months, was making a 24-hour visit to Israel, rare despite close defense ties between the United States and Israel. He was returning from a regional security conference in Bahrain, where American Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates emphasized that Washington continues to see Iran as a grave threat to regional security, noted that Iran has accelerated its efforts to enrich uranium despite United Nations Security Council sanctions and could restart a weapons program at any time.

Mr. Gates said the estimate “is explicit that Iran is keeping its options open and could restart its nuclear weapons program at any time — I would add, if it has not done so already.”

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