Jerusalem: The US is reportedly pressurising Israel to stop targeted killings of top Iranian nuclear scientists, a number of whom have been mysteriously killed, to give diplomatic negotiations with Tehran a chance to succeed.
The issue could come up during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu`s meeting with US President Barack Obama in Washington tomorrow, according to a CBS News report.
Written by CBS Radio correspondent Dan Raviv the report claims that "Israel`s espionage agency, the Mossad, ran an assassination campaign for several years aimed at Iran`s top nuclear scientists".
Israel, however, has never acknowledged carrying out such operations.
"The purpose of the assassinations 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 programme," the investigative journalist said.
Raviv, who co-authored `Spies Against Armageddon: Inside Israel`s Secret Wars` with Israeli journalist Yossi Melman, claims that his report is based on information from `sources close to Israel`s intelligence agencies`.
"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, obviously having long-established safe houses inside Iran, although several Iranians who may have helped the Mossad were arrested and executed," the report said.
The report claimed that Mossad officials have also independently concluded that the campaign had gotten too dangerous and that "they did not want their best combatants, Israel`s term for its most talented and experienced spies, captured and hanged".
Sources reportedly confided that Israel`s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has now ordered Mossad to focus on hunting for evidence that the Iranians are cheating on the commitments they made in their interim agreement with the P5+1 member states, including the five permanent Security Council members and Germany.
Iranian diplomats reached a framework agreement with the six global powers last November for reducing the extent of the Iranian nuclear programme.
Talks on implementing the framework agreement are currently in progress.