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Israel firm on Iran estimates

Israel stood firm in its estimate that Iran could procure nuclear weapons by 2010.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert convened his Security Cabinet on Sunday to discuss a U.S. intelligence report last week which determined that Iran had frozen its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and could be as much as eight years away from producing enough highly enriched uranium for a bomb.

The report was a shock to Israel, given its longstanding agreement with the United States that Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons is a current threat.

During Sunday’s meeting, Olmert came out against the U.S. intelligence assessment.

“According to the report, there was a nuclear weapons program until 2003, but there is no explanation where it disappeared,” the prime minister was quoted as saying.

Olmert said there was no change to Israel’s assessment that Iran could be as little as two years away from making a bomb and that his government would press the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency to expose Tehran’s plans.

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