An Israeli attack on Iran over the latter nation's nuclear program will only bolster the Iranian regime in the eyes of the Iranian people and speed Tehran's development of a nuclear bomb, former Mossad Meir Dagan said Tuesday. 

"An attack will only create a reality where all Iranians will stand behind the regime," Dagan said during his address at the Institute for National Security Studies' annual conference, this year focusing on Israeli opportunities in a turbulent region.

The former Mossad chief also said that Iran would only speed its efforts to build the bomb should Israel now resort to a military option - which he maintained was necessary to retain in light of Tehran's continuing efforts at developing its nuclear program.

Dagan said he supported Amos Yadlin, the former IDF chief of military intelligence who heads the INSS, in his conviction that the best strategy to counter any ambition in Tehran to develop a nuclear weapon is to exert political and economic pressure on Iran.

Such pressure, in the form of sanctions and negotiations that the West has largely adopted as the means to approach the issue of Tehran's nuclear program, could cause a drop in the Iranian people's support of their government. Such a development could, in turn, push the ayatollahs "to do something against the worldview," like compromise or become complicit to Western demands.

Dagan cited the end of the Iran-Iraq war - in which Iran lost at least 100,000 soldiers - and Tehran's negotiations with Baghdad, as proof that domestic pressure Iranian regime can push Tehran to make concessions on its policies.

Jerusalem has put too much emphasis on how to deal with Iran in the run-up to a military strike, or what the red line for such an attack may be, and not with how to prepare for the "day after" such an attack, which Dagan said would likely present serious ramifications.

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Iranian threat

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