The Sunday Times of London reports that Israel's intelligence information on Iran's nuclear capabilities appears to belie the official United States stance on the issue.  The US National Intelligence Estimate of last December concluded that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons development program in 2003.  However, the Times reports, Israel has made a breakthrough in intelligence-gathering within Iran, and now fears that Iran has in fact made significant advances towards attaining nuclear power.

A source quoted by the Times said the new information was "on a par with intelligence that led Israel to discover and then destroy a partly constructed nuclear reactor in Syria last September."

The head of Britain's MI6 intelligence agency, Sir John Scarlett, is scheduled to visit Israel later this month, and will be briefed by Israeli Mossad chief Meir Dagan.  Iran’s nuclear program is expected to be high on their agenda in an intelligence-sharing process described by Israeli officials as a “strategic dialogue;" both Israel and Britain have extensive spy networks in the Middle East.

Israeli officials have briefed US and British officials on their findings, and Israel expects the US to revise its analysis of Iran’s program in the near future.  The newspaper surmises that if Israel "were considering military action against Iran [regarding] its nuclear program, it would want to ensure it had diplomatic support in London and Washington."

Iran: Barak Threatened Us

An Iranian press agency reported that Defense Minister Ehud Barak "threatened" Iran this past Friday.  The agency quoted Barak as saying that Israel is fully prepared to launch a military attack on Tehran - though he did not elaborate.

"Israel is the strongest country in the entire region, even at a range of 1,500 kilometers," Barak reportedly said, adding that Israel is "willing to be alone with the problem."

Last week, a second US aircraft carrier entered the Persian Gulf, sparking media speculation in Iran that this was a tacit declaration of war on Iran.  The Iranian news agency also reported that Israel "has been preparing for war for several months now," citing Israel's recent nationwide drill testing its emergency response as an example.