WASHINGTON – Former Mossad Chief Meir Dagan gave an interview with CBS' "60 minutes," and reiterated his view that now was not the time to strike Iran's nuclear facilities.
Dagan has voiced his objection to a preemptive Israeli strike on Iran in the past, and on Sunday night he warned again of what may be the catastrophic result of an ill-timed attack on the Islamic Republic.
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An Israeli strike on Iran, he said, could lead to its retaliating with hundreds, possibly thousands of missiles, in a way that would have a "devastating impact" on Israel's ability of to continue its daily life. "Israel will be in a very serious situation for quite a time," he said.
Dagan told CBS that the West still has "at least three years" to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
"The regime in Iran is very rational. It's not exactly our rationale, or the western thinking... but I think (Ahmadinejad) is rational," he said. "There is do doubt that they are considering all the implications of their actions. They will have to pay dearly."
Proof of that rationale, he said, can be found in the way Iran cunningly stalls international diplomatic efforts to broker a compromise on its nuclear program. "They are masters of negotiations," he said.
However, "Iran has an interest in driving up the price of oil. This is the most important source on income for Iran.
"If Iran will be armed with nuclear capabilities, their ability to create instability in the region and by this, indirectly, increase the price of oil… It will be much worse than it is now," Dagan said.
He reiterated his opinion that the best way to prevent such a scenario was to support a regime change in Iran.
"The issue of Iran armed with a nuclear capability is not an Israeli problem – it's an international problem," he said, adding that he believes that, as US President Barack Obama said, the United States is considering mounting a military campaign against Iran should diplomacy fail.
"The military option is on the table and (Obama) is not going to let Iran become a nuclear state and from my experience, I usually trust the president of the United States," he says.
Dagan said he believes a strike on Iran would spark a regional war, "And wars, you know how they start. You never know how you are ending it."
Israel, he said, cannot agree to a nuclear Iran, since its leaders have repeatedly said that "They want to destroy Israel."
A strike, he added, would be problematic, as it would entail "dealing with dozens of sites." He also said he agreed with the general western assessment that a strike on Iran will only delay its nuclear program – not destroy it completely.
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