Former Mossad head Meir Dagan, who since leaving office last year has been outspoken in his opposition to an Israeli strike at this time on Iran, joined two other former intelligence heads, one American and the other German, in writing in The Wall Street Journal Thursday that crushing new sanctions need to be imposed against Tehran.

“As the Iranian regime races to fulfill its nuclear ambitions, the world faces a stark choice,” read the article.

“Our near future carries the risk of a military conflict with Iran, or a nuclear arms race in the already volatile Middle East. It is still possible to avoid these outcomes, but only if like-minded nations act immediately to deliver a potentially decisive economic blow to the regime.”

In addition to Dagan, the piece was signed by former German intelligence chief August Hanning and former CIA head James Woolsey, as well as Charles Guthrie, the former chief of staff of the British armed forces; former US ambassador to the EU Kristen Silverberg; and Mark Wallace, the head of a group called United Against Nuclear Iran and a former US diplomat at the UN.

The group said that with stringent financial sanctions against Iran recently imposed by the US and EU, including actions by the Swift international banking consortium to block access to Iranian banks and the European ban on Iranian oil to go into effect on July 1, now was the time for further sanctions on four key areas to convince the Iranians of the world’s determination.

The steps include completely cutting off Iran from the international banking system, requiring business to disclose all investments and transactions with Iran, denying Iran access to international shipping and prohibiting insurance companies that do business with Tehran from doing business in the EU and US.

“We cannot state with certainty that sanctions and pressure will compel the Iranian regime to change course,” the piece read.

“But it’s common sense that before undertaking military action against a country, we should first try to dissuade it from its current course by applying decisive economic pressure. Doing so will show the regime that the world is serious and committed, willing to do whatever it takes to stop Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

The op-ed was published just ahead of the upcoming talks in Baghdad next Wednesday between Iran and the world’s powers – the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany.

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