'Mossad has scaled back covert ops inside Iran'

TIME magazine quotes senior Israeli security officials as saying Netanyahu reluctant to engage in risky operations in Iran.

March 31, 2012 00:01
1 minute read.
Iranian nuclear scientist assassination [file]

Iranian nuclear scientist assassination 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Mossad has significantly scaled back its covert operations inside Iran, Time magazine quoted senior Israeli security officials as saying Friday.

The cuts are from a wide spectrum of operations, ranging from high-profile assassinations and detonations at Iranian missile bases to spy on recruitment and activity in Iran, according to the report.

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The cutback is being ascribed by the officials to a reluctance on the part of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to engage in risky operations in Iran. According to the report, the prime minister was involved in a botched Mossad attempt to assassinate Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, and has since been hesitant to approve clandestine activities overseas.

“Bibi is traumatized from the Mashaal incident,” Time quoted the senior Israeli official as saying. “He is afraid of another failure, that something will blow up in his face.”

Israel and Iran have reportedly been engaging in a covert war for years. Tehran has blamed Israel for mysterious explosions at military and nuclear facilities, assassinations of scientists and complex computer viruses, while Jerusalem in turn has implicated Iran in the bombings of Israeli embassies around the world.

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Washington and the European Union have imposed tough sanctions on Iran, including an EU oil embargo that is due to go into effect in July and a move by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) to cut off a number of key Iranian banks, making international financial transactions all but impossible.

The international community, worrying about the wide regional and global repercussions of a potential Israeli strike on Iran, is hoping that the sanctions will compel Iran to halt its nuclear program.

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