PM to Meet Top Aides to Discuss Iranian Threat

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has called a meeting today to discuss Israel's policy on the Iranian nuclear threat.

The meeting, which was scheduled before the holidays, will now also deal with the North Korean nuclear test and the debate among world leaders about imposing sanctions on Iran. The participants are expected to discuss ways of leveraging the universal castigation of the Korean test to pressure Iran to suspend its nuclear program.

They will also discuss Israel's course of action. One of the options may be to distribute details of the military cooperation between North Korea and Iran to Western media and opinion makers.

Another topic of discussion will be Russia's position. Until now Russia, has blocked American efforts to impose sanctions on Iran. Countering the Iranian threat will be one of the main issues that Olmert will discuss with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his visit to Moscow next week.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, Vice Premier Shimon Peres, the heads of the intelligence agencies and other senior officials are to attend the meeting. Mossad chief Meir Dagan, whom Olmert appointed to coordinate efforts to thwart the Iranian nuclear program by diplomatic means, will report on the last few months' developments.

Director of the Atomic Energy Committee Gideon Frank, who recently met his counterparts at a conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, will also present a survey. The IAEA issued an evaluation this week of the North Korean nuclear test, estimating its power from half a kiloton to one kiloton.

The forum to deal with the Iranian threat, which Olmert heads, convenes once every few months. Olmert has said that the Iranian threat preoccupies him more than any other issue.