Top Tel Aviv officials have assured CIA chief Leon Panetta that Israel has not planned a surprise attack on the Islamic Republic.
The assurance was given when the director of the Central Intelligence Agency held talks with the Israeli leaders on Iran’s nuclear program on Thursday, Israel’s public radio reported.
The Israeli officials assured Panetta that “Israel does not intend to surprise the US on Iran.”
Panetta arrived in Israel two weeks ago for a round of talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and other top officials, the report added.
The United States and Israel accuse Iran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran, however, has repeatedly declared that its nuclear program is aimed at civilian purposes.
Tel Aviv has urged that negotiations with Iran must be limited in time and accompanied by tough sanctions, but President Barack Obama wants to engage Tehran in direct talks with no ‘impeding factor’ to end the nuclear standoff.
On Wednesday, Obama sent a message to Netanyahu to warn him against ‘surprising’ the US by launching a military attack on Iran.
The Americans do not want to face the facts on the ground at the last minute, Obama’s urgent message said.
Israel, which is — according to former US president Jimmy Carter — the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, has so far refused to remove the option of taking military action against the Islamic republic.