Dagan retracts quote that attacking Iran is 'stupid'

Former Mossad head steps away from quote, but does not move away from the substance of his opposition to military action.

July 5, 2012 23:37
1 minute read.

Meir Dagan. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

Bombing Iran is not the stupidest idea Meir Dagan has heard after all, the former Mossad head made clear in an interview in the recent issue of Lochem magazine, distancing himself from his statement earlier this year – which was widely circulated to discredit a possible Israeli military action against Tehran.

“This was a miserable quote that was said absentmindedly, not in public, and which someone quotes all the time,” Dagan said in the magazine for disabled IDF veterans. “Let’s set the record straight. I think the Iranian nuclear capacity is a threat with strategic implications for Israel.

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I know the air force well enough to know that it will perform successfully any task entrusted to it.”

While stepping away from that particular quote, Dagan did not however move away from the substance of his opposition to military action.

“I do see a nuclear Iran as a problem,” he said. “If I believed that a military attack would solve the problem, believe me, I would be in favor.

If I thought that an attack would stop the nuclear program, I would be in favor. But what can you do, an attack cannot stop the nuclear program – it can only delay it for a period of time.”

Dagan, repeating what he has been saying for months about the military option, said it was necessary for Israel to always consider what would happen the day after an attack, and that this was a discussion that should take place before – not after – military action. He added that he thought the cost of such an assault would be greater than the benefit.

He dismissed, however, the notion that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was using the Iranian threat to divert the public’s attention from issues such as the social protests and the African migrants. “I do not agree with the defense minister and prime minister [on Iran], but I do not think they are that cynical,” Dagan said. “I believe that when the prime minister raises the Iranian issue he is substantively very concerned about Israel’s security, and I do not link that with any other event.”

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