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Israel calls meeting on Iran declaration

18 May 2010 15:01

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has held an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss Iran’s nuclear declaration, one day after the agreement was made public.

“The forum of seven (ministers) met this morning at the prime minister’s office in Jerusalem,” an unnamed Israeli official told AFP, as the meeting quietly wrapped up without any announcements.

The official went on to question the reliability of the declaration, “which all (at the meeting) agreed seems to be an Iranian trick.”

Immediately after Iran, Brazil, and Turkey announced the declaration on Monday, Israel, which is widely believed to be the Middle East’s sole owner of nuclear warheads, cast doubt on the announcement, drawing criticism from the Brazilian government.

However, Netanyahu hushed his ministers late on Monday with an order to withhold public comments to prepare a formal response, according to his office.

Iran’s partners in the trilateral talks are both non-permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) opposed to the US-led campaign for slapping tougher UN sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

While the declaration was received with suspicion in some Western countries, veto-wielding permanent UNSC member China – another advocate of diplomacy on Iran — has supported the declaration.

Iran rejects Western allegations that its nuclear program is a military one, arguing that as a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) it has the right to a civilian nuclear program.

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