JERUSALEM (AFP/Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday cancelled a security cabinet meeting after details from an initial session, which reportedly concerned the Iranian threat, were leaked to the press.

“A short time after the conclusion of yesterday’s meeting, a very serious thing happened: a leak from within the cabinet’s discussions,” said a statement from his office.

“Yesterday, somebody severely undermined the confidence that Israeli citizens give to this forum. He violated the most basic rules regarding the conduct of security cabinet discussions,” he said.

Details about the meeting, at which the 14-member security cabinet was briefed by military intelligence chief Aviv Kochavi, Tamir Pardo who heads the Mossad spy service, and Yoram Cohen who runs the Shin Bet internal security, were splashed across the front page of Wednesday’s Yediot Aharonot.

Under the headline: “Dispute over Iran between intelligence agencies,” the article said the various organisations “presented conflicting positions on Iran.”

“There is currently a disagreement about the point at which Israel’s ability to damage the Iranian nuclear programme loses its effectiveness,” the paper said, indicating it was the first time “in many months” the forum had held an in-depth debate about Iran’s nuclear progress.

They were also briefed on a list of crippling sanctions “that have yet to be used on the Iranians, such as a trade embargo and a flight prohibition, which in Israel’s opinion could lead to a change.”

At the meeting, Netanyahu had “warned the ministers... not to leak any information,” the paper said.

Netanyahu’s bureau did not mention Iran nor the Yediot article in the communique announcing the adjournment.

“I have no complaint against the media; they are doing their job. I do have a complaint against whoever violated the most basic trust needed to hold security cabinet discussions on matters about Israel’s security, and undermined the ability to hold confidential discussions,” Netanyahu said.

Whereas, an Iranian military commander Wednesday said Iran makes no distinction between US and Israeli interests and will retaliate against both countries if attacked.

The comments came after the White House denied an Israeli news report that it was negotiating with Tehran to keep out of a future Israel-Iran war and as US President Barack Obama fends off accusations from his election rival that he is too soft on Tehran.

“The Zionist regime separated from America has no meaning, and we must not recognise Israel as separate from America,” Ali Fadavi, naval commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency.

“On this basis, today only the Americans have taken a threatening stance towards the Islamic Republic,” Fadavi said. “If the Americans commit the smallest folly they will not leave the region safely.”

Israel and much of the West believes Iran’s nuclear activities mask a weapons programme, a charge Tehran denies.

On Wednesday, Israeli President Shimon Peres said he “cannot imagine that the United States and Europe would allow the Middle East to fall to Iran,” as he met visiting Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi.

“Time may be running out, but we still need to act now to make non-military pressure as powerful and impressive as possible while showing that if it does not work, there are other options,” Peres said, according to his office.