Mossad ex-chief warns against Iran attack

2012-03-09 10:04

Washington - The former chief of Israel's Mossad spy agency has cautioned against an attack on Iran's nuclear sites and put his trust firmly in US President Barack Obama to intervene if and when necessary.

In excerpts of an interview with CBS's 60 Minutes programme to be aired in full on Sunday, Meir Dagan said he believes the Iranian regime is a "very rational one", including firebrand President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"An attack on Iran before you are exploring all other approaches is not the right way," Dagan said.

"And [President Obama] said openly that the military option is on the table and he is not going to let Iran become a nuclear state, and from my experience, I usually trust the president of the US."

The Obama administration maintains that tough sanctions on Iran and diplomatic efforts need to be given more time before any resort to bombing raids.

Israeli leaders however say time is running out for any pre-emptive strike. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that sanctions against Iran have not worked, and "none of us can afford to wait much longer".

Consequences understood

Dagan, who retired in January 2011 after eight years as director of the Israeli intelligence service, has repeatedly warned that an attack could fail to curb Iran's atomic ambitions while risking engulfing the region in conflict.

In the 60 Minutes interview, he said he did not believe the Iranians were rushing forward to produce a bomb as they understood the consequences.

"But no doubt, they are considering all the implications of their actions," Dagan said. "They will have to pay dearly... and I think the Iranians at this point in time are... very careful on the project."

US military commanders say they have drawn up contingency plans for a potential attack on Iran's nuclear facilities and Defence Secretary Leon Panetta confirmed as much in an interview on Thursday.

Dagan, who refused to be drawn on whether Israel has supported youth opposition groups in Iran, said that trying to foment regime change was a smarter tactic.

American preference

"It's our duty to help anyone who likes to present an open opposition against their regime in Iran," he said.

Asked if he would rather that Israel waited and allowed the United States to act first, Dagan replied: "If I prefer that someone will do it, I always prefer that Americans will do it."

Analysts and former US military officers say Israeli aircraft could do serious damage to Iran's nuclear sites but would face a challenge hitting an underground facility near Qom and that America's vast air force far outstrips Israel's capabilities.

The United States, Israel and much of the international community fear Iran's nuclear programme is an attempt to build a weapon - a charge Tehran denies.

  • Fidel - 2012-03-09 10:58

    Mr Dagan is smart enough to know that giving up nuclear technology will not stop Israel via its proxies to come up with other excuses and threats against Iran. Not as long as there are huge amounts of gas and oil sitting on Iranian subterranean.

      Boer - 2012-03-09 13:02

      You are boring.

      Fred - 2012-03-09 13:20

      The US is strongly moving way from relying on oil imports from the Middle East. Ten to twenty years from now the situation will be very different for what it is today. The people of the Middle East unconsciously know this. It is the big economic driver of the political changes taking place. In the not too distant future Middle Eastern countries will not have the massive amounts of money flowing through a single channel. The people are going to have to be more independent, self-reliant. They don't stand a chance of survival and prospering with paternalistic, autocratic regimes.

      Moss - 2012-03-09 13:38

      Boers were never known to be good intellectuals, which is why Boer just say "boring"

      Fred - 2012-03-09 14:30

      And that's reflective of a high intellect? I don't think so.

      Fred - 2012-03-10 00:47

      But then you and Fidel are clearly harmonic in your dissonance. In other words looney-tunes in your perspectives.

      James - 2012-03-16 13:43

      The war mongers in Iraq were Perle, Wolfowitz, Abrams, Krauthammer, Joe Lieberman. We killed 100,000 to 1Mill Innocent people {Take your pick}We destroyed a Country, spent $1 TRILLION. Then we wonder why they hate us. The Mullahs in Iran sold Nuke power not bombs as a issue of national pride to Iranians.

  • Kobus - 2012-03-09 11:08

    Yes Israel will still continue to put all their trust in the US and then a nuke hits them and kills 75% of their people? Dont put your trust in Obama Israel !

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