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Israel, Iran Talk at Secret Atomic Meeting

‘Haaretz’ reports reps of both nations were at Cairo non-proliferation conference

Michael Weiss
October 22, 2009

Last month, Israel and Iran both took part in a secret Cairo conference on nuclear non-proliferation&#151or, at least, so says the Israel Atomic Energy Commission and so Iran officially denies, according to Haaretz. Yael Doron, spokesman for the Israeli atomic group, insists that “no dialogue or interaction” took place between the enemy nations, while Ali Shirzdian of the Iranian Atomic Organization calls this disclosure “sheer lies” and ties it to a “psychological operation to undermine the successful [nuclear] meetings” that have taken place in Geneva and Vienna. Haaretz says that one noteworthy tete-à-tete did occur, between Meirav Zafary-Odiz, director of policy and arms control for the Israeli side, and Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency. They met “several times over September 29 and 30,” according to the paper, which also reports that though the two were not seen interacting together outside of the three closed panel sessions they attended, one eyewitness claims that in one session Soltanieh, the Iranian, asked Zafary-Odiz, the Israeli, “Do you or do you not have nuclear weapons?” Zafary-Odiz, the witness said, didn’t say anything, only smiled.

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