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JERUSALEM – President Obama’s policy of direct diplomacy with Iran may buy Tehran enough time to produce nuclear weapons, Shabtai Shavit, former chief of the Mossad intelligence agency, warned in an exclusive WND interview today.
“I don’t believe there is a political solution which can be achieved through negotiations with Iran,” he said.
“My concern is that until Obama finishes his learning curve of the subject, the Iranians are going to have maybe the first or even more nuclear bombs.”
Shavit served as director of the Mossad from 1989 through 1996. He clarified that although diplomacy cannot be ruled out, from his experience he doesn’t believe there can be a political solution with Iran.
He said there is a military option but that at this point in time, an Israeli or U.S. strike against Tehran’s nuclear facilities would not completely halt the country’s suspected illicit program.
“According to the best of my assessment, I’m afraid [using a strike to] completely disrupt the whole Iranian (nuclear) project and the whole system is not possible. But there still could be a military option. It depends what are the aims you define for [any such attack].”
Shavit told WND that if Obama is intent on pursuing talks, the diplomatic road to halting Iran’s nuclear program runs through Russia. Moscow has been cooperating with Tehran militarily and reportedly is supplying Iran with some of the infrastructure used to build the country’s nuclear facilities.
“I believe Obama should start his voyage to change the world’s geostrategic situation first in Moscow and only afterwards proceed with Tehran,” he stated.
“Russia supports Iran not because a nuclear Iran is in the interest of Russia. The support is only in order to obstruct U.S. foreign policies and America’s strategic objectives,” he posited.
Shavit recommended that Obama offer a new international relationship with Russia which would allow Moscow to “regain its national pride and dignity.”
“Since the end of the former Soviet Union as a power in 1991 until today, the Russian perception of U.S. foreign policy is that U.S. policy during this period is intended to humiliate Russia. There is a very long list of issues that the Russians bring out to demonstrate their point,” he said.
He recommended Obama propose a quid pro quo exchange with Russia, such as willingness to negotiate around a proposed U.S. anti-missile defense system in Europe, in return for a major change in Russia’s policy toward Iran.
“Russia must then join the U.S. and Europe and together they can impose real, very harsh sanctions,” he said.
“This is the best option short of military action to against Iran,” he added.
In August, the Bush administration inked a deal to build a U.S. missile defense base in Poland, prompting Moscow to warn of a possible attack against the former Soviet ally. The missile defense deal came on the heels of Russia’s invasion last summer of U.S. ally Georgia.
Already, the Obama administration has projected a conciliatory tone toward Russia. Earlier this month, in his first foreign policy speech in office, Vice President Joe Biden invited Moscow to start its relationship with America anew.
“It’s time, to paraphrase President Obama, it’s time to press the reset button,” Biden said.
Also earlier this month, the Times of London quoted Obama administration officials stating the White House plans to offer Russia a deal in which each country would reduce its nuclear weapons stockpile by 80 percent.
Meanwhile, a report in London’s Daily Telegraph claimed the Mossad was using hit men, sabotage, front companies and double agents to disrupt Iran’s illicit weapons project. It claimed Israel already assassinated Iranian nuclear scientists as part of a covert war against Iran.
Shavit responded to the Telegraph report:
“Look, since I’m out of the Mossad for quite sometime now, I cannot comment from personal knowledge,” he told WND. “Yet it is not forbidden for a former officer to use my intelligence. I’ve read American articles stating that Bush assigned the CIA to mount covert operations against the Iranian nuke project. It would be only logical to think this is not such a bad idea to try.”