Israel should trust US President Barack Obama when he says that he will
not let Iran build a nuclear weapon, former Mossad head Meir Dagan told The Jerusalem Post this week.
the US president says that he is not going to allow Iran to reach
nuclear capability, if we are not going to trust him, then who are we
going to trust?” Dagan said.
He told the Post
that Israel was making a mistake by portraying the issue of Tehran’s
nuclear ambitions as one of Israel against Iran, and should leave the
question to the international community.
“We are now in a
situation where [Iran’s nuclear program] is the main interest of most of
the countries in the region and the US and the international
community,” he said. “We never, ever had anything against the people of
Iran, and I think that a problem that is creating such a great threat to
the region and to the stability of the region and the economy of the
region should be dealt with as an international issue.”
who stepped down as head of the Mossad just over a year ago and now
heads oil, gas and uranium exploration company Gulliver Energy, said
that a strike on Iran would not be able to halt the Islamic Republic’s
drive for nuclear weapons, as such a move could only destroy
infrastructure, not nuclear know-how.
“Knowledge on the nuclear
issue is something that you are not able to prevent, because knowledge
is something that remains in the brains of people,” he said. “You are
not capable, really, of eliminating knowledge from people.”
repeated his view that an attack would lead Israel into a regional war
conducted mostly through Tehran’s proxies, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic
Jihad and perhaps even Syria.
Given that a regional war is the
likely outcome of attacking Iran and that it would only be able to delay
the project, not to stop it, the question arises whether an attack is
the best solution to the issue, Dagan said.
“I believe that such a
solution should be a tool available to the political level, but I’m not
sure it should be the first option. It should be the last option,” he
He added that he believed the Iranian regime to be a
rational regime and said that in his estimate, Tehran would back down
from its nuclear weapons ambition if faced with choosing between the
program and its own survival.
“If they were to face a situation
where they would have to judge the survival of the regime versus the
[nuclear] project, I believe they would choose the survival of the
regime,” Dagan said.
Dagan rejected claims that his comments would give the Iranians a sense that they could act with impunity.
someone like me is speaking against [attacking Iran], then the Iranians
have to understand that Israel is probably considering seriously doing
so. Then, in a way, it’s helping those efforts, making it a reliable
scenario,” he said.
For the full interview with Meir Dagan, see this week’s Magazine.
Meir Dagan will discuss the Iranian nuclear threat at the first annual Jerusalem Post Conference in New York on April 29.