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Israeli Delegation to Tell US Iran Still Pursuing Nuclear Arms


An Israeli delegation is making an unscheduled visit to the United States amid disagreements over the recent American intelligence report on Iran. As Robert Berger reports from VOA's Jerusalem bureau, the visit underscores growing Israeli anxiety about Iran's nuclear program.

Israel has sent intelligence officials to the United States with this message: Iran is still developing nuclear weapons.

Public Security Minister Avi Dichter said the U.S. intelligence report that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program four years ago is dead wrong.

Dichter said Israel cannot allow a "mistaken concept," as he put it, to determine U.S. policy on Iran. He warned that the intelligence report could lead to another Middle East war.

Dichter said there could be a repeat of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, when neighboring Arab countries launched a surprise attack on Israel on the Day of Atonement, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. He said something went wrong in the American blueprint for analyzing the severity of the Iranian nuclear threat.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. But according to Israeli intelligence, Iran could have a nuclear weapon by the end of 2009.

The Israeli delegation will tell U.S. officials that Iran's enrichment of uranium, its development of long-range ballistic missiles, and its threats to wipe Israel "off the map" are proof that its intentions are not peaceful.