Former Israeli intelligence and military officials have urged Israel to prepare for military action against Iran as Washington and Tehran are negotiating a revival of the nuclear deal, The Palestine Chronicle reported on Monday.
In an interview with Israel Hayom that was published Sunday, Amos Gilad, the former chief of Israel’s Defense Ministry’s Political-Military Affairs Bureau, and former National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror called for Israel to make preparations. The two former officials said that Israel’s efforts to sabotage the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, will not yield results, so Israel must prepare other options.
“The diplomatic options were exhausted after the Americans decided to pursue an agreement at almost any cost. I don’t see any way that does not involve force to convince the Iranians, because Iran does not stop under any diplomatic or economic pressure. This requires us to ensure that we are prepared for a military option,” said Amidror.
Many current and former Israeli officials claim that the JCPOA is a path to a nuclear-armed Iran since the agreement eventually expires. But after the JCPOA, Iran will still be a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Gilad claimed that if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, it will ignite a regional nuclear arms race. But that claim ignores the fact that Israel has a secret nuclear weapons program and a stockpile that is estimated to be somewhere between 90 and 300 nuclear warheads.
Former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen on Monday bragged that during his time as the head of the spy agency, Israel carried out “countless operations” against Iran’s nuclear program. Israel frequently launches covert attacks inside Iran but rarely acknowledges the operations.
“Without going into too many details, I can tell you the Mossad had many successes in the fight against Iran’s nuclear program,” Cohen said. “We operated around the world and on Iranian soil itself, in the very heartland of the ayatollahs.”
Cohen was the Mossad chief from 2016-2021, a time when Israel was carrying out frequent attacks inside Iran. Most notable were the November 2020 assassination of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, and the April 2021 attack at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility, which coincided with the start of negotiations between the US and Iran.
While the ex-Israeli officials are touting the idea of using force against Iran, the Islamic Republic has previously reacted to Israeli attacks by increasing the activity of its nuclear program, the very thing the officials claim they’re against.
After Fakhrizadeh was killed, Iran began enriching some uranium at 20%. After the April 2021 Natanz attack, Iran began enriching some uranium at 60%, which is still lower than the 90% needed for weapons-grade. The JCPOA limits Iran’s enrichment level to 3.67%.