'Last resort.' Dagan
Photo: Yaron Brener
Dagan: Threat of attack may hasten Iran nuke program
Former Mossad chief says Israel should resort to military option only if all else fails; makes politically-incorrect remark while apologizing for feeling ill

A military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities should not be Israel's first option, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan said Monday.


During a conference on Iran's nuclear program and Israeli decision-making, which was held at the Netanya Academic College, Dagan said "I made my opinion clear a while ago. I have no doubt that (the nuclear program) is Israel's main strategic challenge, particularly because the conventional threats – Syria and Egypt – do not pose a security challenge for Israel at this point."


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The former Mossad chief said he believed the military option should "be on the table, but not as a first option. The commotion surrounding the immediate alternative of an attack may lead the Iranians into a reality in which they are (pushed over the edge) and try to obtain nuclear capabilities as quickly as possible instead of treading rather carefully while taking the international community's demands into consideration."


According to Dagan, "this situation could prove to be problematic because it may (affect the entire Middle East) in such a way that it would have security and economic-related repercussions for Israel (and other countries).


"I am reiterating what I have always said – the military option should exist, but we must resort to it only when all else fails," he told the conference, which was also attended by former Shin Bet security service chief Yaakov Peri and former National Security Council head Uzi Dayan, among other researchers and security establishment figures.


Shortly after completing his term as Mossad chief, Dagan said an aerial strike on Iran was a "foolish idea with no upside."


In May he said "whoever attacks Iran should know he may be launching a regional war during which missiles will be fired from Iran and Hezbollah in Lebanon."


During the discussion Dagan made a politically-incorrect remark. While apologizing for being ill, he said he sounded "like a pillow-biter."




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