Report: Iran, Israel Took Part In Secret Middle East Nuclear Talks
WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – Diplomats from Iran, Israel, the U.S. and other Middle East officials reportedly met at the end of last month for a secret conference on banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East.
A Reuters report gives few details from the non-proliferation meeting that purportedly took place at a hotel in the Swiss village of Glion near Montreux on Oct. 21-22. Although an Israeli official confirmed the multi-national meeting, it was denied that the Israelis had direct communication with the Arab and Iranian delegates.
An Arab official told Reuters, “That they were there, the Israelis and Iran, is the main thing.”
Another diplomat, speaking under the condition of anonymity, stated that there were about 14 different delegations represented at the table, including Finnish Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary of State Jaakko Laajava, and representatives of the U.S.
The diplomat said the discussions were “quite constructive,” and that another meeting was likely to happen later in November.
An Israeli official, however, downplayed the “completely procedural meeting,” and told Reuters it was like numerous other international meetings where the countries are in the same building at the same time procedurally.
Reuters reports that U.S. and Israeli officials view atomic activity in Iran as one of the largest threats to a nuclear-free Middle East, although many Arab states regard Israel as the only country in the region to possess nuclear capabilities.
Iran has insisted its uranium enrichment program is solely for energy purposes.