Ehud Olmert said a U.S. intelligence report will not undermine international pressure on Iran to curb its uranium enrichment.
The Israeli prime minister told an international conference in Tel Aviv on Tuesday that this month’s National Intelligence Estimate, which said Iran shelved its nuclear weapons project in 2003, “generated an exaggerated debate” worldwide.
“Some of us even interpreted the report as an American retreat from its support of Israel. This is groundless,” Olmert said.
“The United States led the global campaign against Iran and mobilized its full international strength to set in motion the adoption by the U.N. Security Council of two resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran, since America was convinced that Iran constitutes a real threat to peace in the region and to vital American interests,” he noted.
“This has not changed. Not because I say so: The Americans say so, and the British, the Germans and the French say so as well.”
Olmert reasserted Israel’s belief that Iranian uranium enrichment plants could produce enough fissile material for a bomb by 2010. The intelligence report said the process would likely take several more years.
It has been widely speculated that the report took the U.S. military option against Iran off the table, and that Israel would be unlikely to launch pre-emptive strikes alone. Olmert did not mention this, saying only that Israel continues to believe in the power of sanctions.