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Secret talks. Panetta Photo: AFP
Secret talks. Panetta Photo: AFP
 
'Existential threat.' Netanyahu Photo: Reuters
'Existential threat.' Netanyahu Photo: Reuters
 
 

Report: CIA chief in secret Israel talks on Iran

Public radio says top officials, including Netanyahu, Barak assured Leon Panetta that 'Israel does not intend to surprise the US on Iran'

Ron Ben-Yishai, AFP
Published: 05.14.09, 10:53 / Israel News

CIA chief Leon Panetta has held secret talks in Israel with top officials who assured him the Jewish state would not launch a surprise strike on Iran, a report said.

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According to the public radio report, Panetta arrived in Israel two weeks ago for a round of talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak , Mossad chief Meir Dagan and other top officials.

  

The talks focused on Iran's nuclear program, which the United States and Israel suspect is aimed at developing an atomic bomb, a claim denied by Tehran.

  

The Israeli leaders assured Panetta that "Israel does not intend to surprise the US on Iran" or undermine the Obama Administration's efforts to launch negotiations with Tehran on its nuclear program.

 

The officials also discussed issues related to Syria and Iran's efforts to increase its influence in the Middle East.

  

President Barack Obama's decision to engage Tehran in direct talks in an effort to end the nuclear standoff have raised concern in Israel which called on the negotiations to be limited in time and accompanied by tough sanctions.

  

Israel nevertheless refuses to remove the option of taking military action against the Islamic republic.

  

Netanyahu has said that Iran's nuclear ambitions posed an "existential threat" to the Jewish state.

 

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