Israeli officials are throwing cold water on this week's U.S. intelligence report that plays down Iran's nuclear ambitions. As Robert Berger reports from VOA's Jerusalem bureau, Israel remains deeply suspicious of Iran's nuclear program.
Israeli parliamentarian and former general Ephraim Sneh says a U.S. intelligence report that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program four years ago is "very flawed."
Sneh told Israel Radio that the report does not give sufficient weight to Iran's program to enrich uranium. He said even if Iran suspended its pursuit of nuclear weapons, enriched uranium would enable it to restart the program at any time.
Amos Gilad, a senior official in Israel's Defense Ministry, went even further.
He said Iran is determined to obtain nuclear weapons. Gilad told the same radio program that Iran's enrichment of uranium and development of long-range missiles shows its intentions are not innocent.
Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, and it described the U.S. intelligence report as a "great victory."
Israel has grown increasingly alarmed about Iran's nuclear program since late 2005, when the Iranian president threatened to wipe the Jewish state "off the map."
Sneh said the statement shows that Iran poses an existential threat to the State of Israel. Hinting at a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, Sneh said the U.S. report shows that when it comes to existential threats, Israel can rely on no one but itself.