Israel Insists Nobody Wants War With Tehran
Israel said on Tuesday it does not seek war with Iran, a day after presenting purported evidence of past Iranian nuclear arms work, but suggested U.S. President Donald Trump backed its latest attempt to kill a deal aimed at curbing Iran’s atomic ambitions.
A senior Israeli official said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had informed Trump at a March 5 meeting about alleged evidence seized by Israel in what Netanyahu on Monday presented as a “great intelligence achievement”.
U.S. and Israeli officials said the information showed Iran had lied about its past work to develop nuclear arms but intelligence experts said there was no smoking gun showing that Tehran had violated the nuclear deal under which it curbed its atomic programme in return for relief from economic sanctions.
Tehran, which denies ever pursuing nuclear weapons, dismissed Netanyahu as “the boy who cried wolf,” and called his presentation propaganda.
Trump agreed at the March meeting that Israel would publish the information before May 12, the day he is due to decide whether the United States should quit the nuclear deal with Iran, an adversary of both countries, the Israeli official said.
Word of the consultations between Trump and Netanyahu serves to underscore perceptions of a coordinated bid by both leaders to bury the international agreement, which Trump has called “horrible” and Netanyahu has termed “terrible.”
Others briefed on the material in March included Mike Pompeo, who was then CIA director and is now secretary of state; Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and former White House National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, a former U.S. official said.