Former intelligence chief Meir Dagan joined forces with prominent international intelligence gurus to urge crippling sanctions against Iran in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Thursday."Our near future carries the risk of a military conflict with Iran, or a nuclear arms race in the already-volatile Middle East," states the piece, co-authored by former CIA head James Woolsey, former German intelligence chief August Hanning, and military experts from the UK, UN and EU. "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."Specifically, the cadre called for clamping sanctions on all remaining Iranian banks, requiring greater disclosure from companies to expose their investments in the Islamic Republic, blocking international shipping to and from Iran and cutting ties with insurance and reinsurance companies that operate in Iran.Enacting such measures, Dagan et al say, is the only way to put off military action against the Iranian nuclear program. "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."
In March, Dagan said in an interview on CBS News' 60 Minutes that there is yet "more time" on the Iranian nuclear program, and that the international community should not rush into a military option. "An attack on Iran before you are exploring all other approaches is not the right way how to do it," he said.He sparked controversy last year when he stated that an Israeli airstrike on Iran's nuclear reactors would be "a silly idea that would not grant any advantage." He continued: "Whoever attacks Iran must understand that he may start a regional war in which missiles from Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon will be fired. The Iranian problem must be made an international problem and we must continue to act to delay the development of Iran's nuclear capabilities."