JERUSALEM – Israel Mossad Intelligence Director Meir Dagan has presented optimistic reports concerning Iran’s nuclear advances to Israel’s Knesset Parliament Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

In his annual survey of Israel’s political and security situation, delivered before members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the Mossad director noted several setbacks plaguing the Iranian nuclear program. “The Iranians are advancing new generation centrifuges, but are facing many technological difficulties.”

Mr. Dagan noted that the Iranians were unable to advance at the pace they were hoping, and that this was certainly of consequence as to when they could expect to attain their goals. “The Iranian willingness to reach an agreement with Turkey and Brazil concerning uranium enrichment beyond their borders is an attempt to pull a rabbit out of their hat, and aimed at causing a last minute divide in the international community to thwart sanctions in the U.N. Security Council.”

Mr. Dagan said that Iran was seeking nuclear capabilities as a strategic goal and that it believed that reaching such a goal would preclude any future threat to the regime.

However, despite reports of difficulties, the Mossad director explained that Iran was gaining experience in weapons production. “They are continuing to accumulate uranium in small amounts. They already have a ton and a half. And they have also begun enriching uranium at high levels of 20 percent. By doing so they are gaining experience.”

Members of the Knesset were told that the Mossad predicts that the American sanctions, on which Congress is expected to vote soon, could be effective against the Iranians.

Concerning the crisis in U.S.-Israeli relations, Mr. Dagan said that Israel’s standing was eroding among the Americans.

“There is less cooperation between Israel and the U.S., and the administration believes that Israel’s handling of the conflict is inconsistent with their view of a solution. There is a diminishing appreciation of Israel as being an asset in the United States. In the past, Israel enjoyed a higher standing. Over time, this has eroded.”

He said that top on the U.S. priority today was to end its military presence in Iraq and to exterminate al-Qaida. “They are investing a great deal of energy in this. The issue of nuclear weapons in Iran takes only second place.”

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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