The Obama Administration is pressuring Israel's intelligence agencies to stop carrying out assassinations inside Iran, CBS News reported Saturday.
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Written by CBS national correspondent Dan Raviv, co-author with Israeli journalist Yossi Melman of the book "Spies Against Armageddon: Inside Israel's Secret Wars," the article is based on information from "sources close to Israel's intelligence agencies."
The issue could come up during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington this week, according to CBS.
Israel has never acknowledged a clandestine campaign to assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists. Nevertheless, Raviv maintains that the Mossad "ran an assassination campaign for several years aimed at Iran's top nuclear scientists. The purpose was to slow the progress made by Iran, which Israel feels certain is aimed at developing nuclear weapons; and to deter trained and educated Iranians from joining their country's nuclear program."
According to the article, at least five Iranian scientists were murdered, most of them by bombs planted on their cars as they drove to work in the morning. "Remarkably, the Israeli assassins were never caught," the article states, "obviously having long-established safe houses inside Iran - although several Iranians who may have helped the Mossad were arrested and executed."
U.S. pressure may no longer be necessary, Raviv writes, as "Mossad officials [have already] concluded that the campaign had gotten too dangerous. They did not want their best combatants - Israel's term for its most talented and experienced spies - captured and hanged."
Instead, the article quotes the sources as saying, "Netanyahu has now ordered the Mossad to focus on hunting - inside Iran and elsewhere - for evidence that the Iranians are cheating on the commitments they made in their interim agreement with the P5+1 last November."
Iranian and diplomats from six global powers agreed in November on a framework agreement for reducing the extent of the Iranian nuclear program. Talks on implementing the framework agreement are currently in progress.