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Israel must protect itself even more after a U.S. report downplayed Iran’s nuclear threat, a top Israeli lawmaker said. Ephraim Sneh, a senior Labor Party member of Knesset and a member of the Knesset Foreign and Defense Committee and Intelligence Subcommittee, told JTA that the National Intelligence Estimate declassified this week contradicted itself.

The NIE, a consensus assessment of 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, reported that Iran had ended a nuclear weapons program in 2003.

“If the enrichment of uranium continues, and the development of technology applied in nuclear weapons continues, what exactly was stopped in ’03?” Sneh asked. The lesson Sneh drew from the NIE is that Israel could no longer rely on the United States to lead the battle to force Iran to back down from enriching uranium. “I for years have advocated that to forestall the threat of a nuclear Iran, Israel should enhance the development of its own indigenous capacities to develop the defense systems which protect the Israeli civilian population and to rely on ourselves,” Sneh said.

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