Yossi Cohen: Iran not close to getting a nuclear bomb

Former Mossad chief: If Iran develops a nuclear weapon, lsrael must be able to stop Iran on its own.

Yossi Cohen: Iran not close to getting a nuclear bomb

There is greater opposition to Iran’s nuclear program than in the past, former Mossad director Yossi Cohen said Tuesday at the Jerusalem Post Conference.

“I think that Iran, to this day, is not even close to acquiring a nuclear weapon... This is due to longstanding efforts by some forces in the world,” he said in response to a question by Jerusalem Post intelligence reporter Yonah Jeremy Bob, which included references to Israeli covert actions in the Islamic Republic.

Iran’s position is also weaker in that there is “less foreign support for what [it is] doing than in the past,” he said.

Watch the Jerusalem Post 10th Annual Conference video >>

If Iran develops a nuclear weapon, Israel must be able to stop it on its own, Cohen said.

Asked if that would be possible without bunker-buster bombs, he responded: “We have to develop capabilities to allow us to be absolutely independent, doing what Israel has done twice before” – bombing nuclear reactors in Syria and Iraq.

“They should not sleep quietly in Iran,” he added.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, is a misnomer, Cohen said. “In the JCPOA, the C stands for comprehensive,” he said. “It isn’t comprehensive; it has to be comprehensive.”

The deal must be “completely refurbished – not only in one different subject, but completely” – to be effective, Cohen said. “If it isn’t, Iran will continue to have the capabilities it has today or even higher.”

Cohen spoke about how the Mossad, under his leadership, smuggled an entire nuclear archive from Iran into Israel in 2018. That archive referred to three previously unknown nuclear sites in the Islamic Republic.

International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Grossi “should take these under consideration when allowing countries to sign... the future JCPOA,” he said.

“Unless Iran comes completely clean about their deeds in the past, a nuclear agreement should not be signed,” he added. “Grossi should not allow that.”

Former Mossad head Yossi Cohen is seen speaking at the Jerusalem Post annual conference at the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem, on October 12, 2021 (Credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)Former Mossad head Yossi Cohen is seen speaking at the Jerusalem Post annual conference at the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem, on October 12, 2021 (Credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Cohen also spoke about his involvement in the Abraham Accords normalization and peace agreements between Israel and Muslim states.

The accords are “one of the greatest accomplishments ever,” “a majestic thing” and “no less than a miracle for Israel,” he said.

“I hope, I pray that this wave will continue,” Cohen said. “Modern nations have to be in touch with the State of Israel today. That’s because we are so innovative. We believe we have to bring the smartest people around the globe working shoulder to shoulder with us and our tech.

“I believe the light of the State of Israel reaches everybody,” he said. “It is known by all nations.”

Cohen, who is now the head of SoftBank Israel’s investment operations, deflected questions about whether he plans to enter politics. “I’m in business now,” he said.

Watch the Jerusalem Post 10th Annual Conference video >>