Aerial strike on Iran`s nuke sites `dumb idea`: Ex-Mossad chief

Last Updated: Sunday, May 8, 2011 - 21:26

Jerusalem: A possible aerial strike on
Iranian nuclear facilities is a "dumb idea" that may prompt
missile attacks on the Jewish state, Israeli spy agency
Mossad`s former chief Meir Dagan has warned.

"An aerial strike on the (Iranian) reactors is a dumb
idea that has no benefit," Dagan said in his first comments
after hanging boots in September during a forum discussion at
Jerusalem`s Hebrew University late on Saturday.

Though Israeli officials often say that "all options
are on the table" in respect to Iranian nuclear programme, but
Dagan said, "An aerial attack on Iranian nuclear reactors the
most stupidest thing he has ever heard."

While Israel must not accept nuclear weapons in Iran`s
hands, he said, "those who strike in Iran must realise that
they may prompt a regional war, where missiles will be fired
by Iran and by Hezbollah from Lebanon as well."

"The Iranian problem must be shaped as an
international problem, and efforts to delay Iran`s nuclear
programme should continue," said Dagan, who was dubbed as the
superman of Israel.

Dagan said Iran has a clandestine nuclear
infrastructure which functions alongside its legitimate, civil
infrastructure.

"It is the legitimate infrastructure that is under
international supervision by the International Atomic Energy
Agency," he said, stressing that any strike on this legitimate
infrastructure would be "patently illegal under international
law".

He emphasised that attacking Iran would be different from
Israel`s successful air strike on Iraq`s nuclear reactor in
1981, the former Mossad chief said Tehran has scattered its
nuclear facilities in different places around the country,
which would make it difficult for Tel Aviv to launch an
effective attack.

There is proof that Iran has the capability to divert
its nuclear activities from place to place in order to take
them out of the watchful eye of international supervision and
intelligence agencies, he added.

No one in Iran would have any problems in building a
centrifuge system in a school basement if they wished to,
Dagan said, stressing that he did not doubt the Israel Air
Force`s abilities, but the doubts relate to the possibilities
of completing the mission and reaching all targets.

When asked about what would happen in the aftermath of
an Israeli attack, Dagan said, "It will be followed by a war
with Iran. It is the kind of thing where we know how it
starts, but not how it will end."

Israel has so far maintained that it is keeping all
options on the table to foil Iran`s nuclear ambitions.

The former spy chief`s comments evoked mixed reactions
with government ministers severely criticising him for
discussing it with the broader public.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak said while Dagan was a man
of many merits who had contributed immeasurably to the
security of Israel, he "should not have shared that opinion
with the public at large".

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz agreed, saying he
believed Dagan to have been an outstanding Mossad chief but he
should have kept the remarks to himself.

However, two past Mossad chiefs, Danny Yatom and
Ephraim Halevy, said Dagan has every right to express his
opinion with regard to extraordinary matters such as a strike
on Iran.

When it comes to fateful issues pertaining to security
and the state, the head of the Mossad must say his piece after
leaving the post, Yatom told Israel Radio.

Halevy echoed similar sentiments saying that an
outgoing Mossad chief must grant the public what it is
entitled to know, although he added that he might have phrased
the declaration differently.

Dagan`s remarks should have no bearing on the
government`s decisions to that regard, he added.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, May 8, 2011 - 21:26

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