Shun NIE, Jewish group asking candidates


A U.S. Jewish umbrella organization will ask the presidential candidates not to use a U.S. intelligence report on Iran in their campaigns.

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations held an emergency conference call on Tuesday to discuss the National Intelligence Estimate declassified this week. The NIE, the consensus opinion of 16 intelligence agencies, reported that Iran had frozen its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

Malcolm Hoenlein, the Presidents Conference executive vice chairman, said the NIE posed a “challenge” and that advocates of isolating Iran needed to reframe their argument to emphasize that the Islamic republic still backed terrorism.

Democratic candidates already are citing the NIE in arguing against the Bush administration’s efforts to isolate and confront Iran. Hoenlein said the Presidents Conference would write letters to all the candidates asking them not to make the NIE an issue.

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