Did Israel, Iran Meet in Cairo?

Israeli and Iranian officials reportedly met in Cairo; senior Iranian official rejects Western deal on nuclear program.

Maayana Miskin , | updated: 5:47 PM

Iranian nukes
Iranian nukes
Israel news photo: (file)

Israeli and Iranian officials met in Cairo last month to discuss regional nuclear issues, according to international media reports based on statements from Israeli and Egyptian officials. Iranian officials later denied the reports. Israeli officials declined to discuss the alleged talks on Thursday.

The talks allegedly took place in late September, during a Middle East disarmament conference. The conference was attended by both Iranian delegate Ali Asghar Soltanieh and Israel Atomic Energy Commission director Meirav Zafary-Odiz; the two reportedly held a dialogue while there.

The conference was also attended by delegates from around the Middle East, as well as European and United States officials.

Iranian Official Rejects Western Offer
The Deputy Speaker of Iran's Parliament, Mohammed Reza Bahonar, announced Thursday that Iran has rejected a Western offer under which Russia would enrich uranium on Iran's behalf in exchange for the placement of limits on Iran's nuclear program. Bahonar's statements were reported in Iranian media.

The offer, made during a recent international summit in Vienna, is aimed at preventing Iran from building a nuclear weapon while allowing the use of uranium for civilian purposes.

It was not clear if Bahonar's statements in fact reflected the position of the Iranian government. Iranian leaders have not yet issued a response to the offer.

Israel Concerned, Silent
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu gathered his top seven cabinet ministers this week to discuss the offer extended to Iran. Israeli leaders are reportedly concerned that the offer would merely delay the development of Iran's nuclear capabilities, but would not prevent the Islamic Republic from creating nuclear weapons at a later stage.

However, Israeli officials have chosen not to respond in public to reports surrounding Iran's talks with the United States and Europe.

Major-General Aharon Zeevi-Farkash, the former Director of Military Intelligence, said Thursday that he sees the latest contacts between Iran and the West as “a good sign.” However, he said, “We still need to be careful. I do not want to say at this stage that the threat has passed.”