HERZLIYA, Israel – Israel should use force to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, urged a former director of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency in an exclusive interview with WND.
The comments from Meir Amit, one of the most esteemed figures in the Israeli intelligence establishment, are significant since, until now, he has refused to support an attack against Iran.
“I am in favor of using the power of force against Iran, because if we let things go as they are we will find ourselves in a very dangerous situation,” Amit said. “We have good intelligence, and we shall decide what is the right timing for any attack.”
Asked about media speculation and statements from officials and former officials that the best window of opportunity for Israel to attack Iran is before President Bush leaves office in January, Amit responded that U.S. politics should not be a consideration.
He also said Israel should not regard the pro-dialogue policies of presidential candidate Barack Obama in its decision on whether or when to attack Iran.
“I suggest we cannot take Obama as a point to influence our activities. We have to control our own activities and decide the right timing,” he said.
Pressed on the issue of media reports quoting anonymous Israeli and American officials speaking about the timing of an Israeli strike, Amit replied, “When you decide to attack someone, you don’t let that person or country know anything about the timing in advance. You do it at the right moment without any initial warning or announcement.”
The former Mossad chief told WND he was not particularly concerned about Iranian threats of massive retaliation in the event of an Israeli strike.
“I am not impressed by Iran’s threats. We have to do what we think should be done and obviously plan for consequences. All my life I decided on the spot what to do according to the existing situation,” he said.
Amit, in his mid-80’s, was Mossad director from 1963 to 1968. During that time he was credited with orchestrating some of the most notorious Mossad operations, such as running Israeli spy Eli Cohen, who penetrated top levels of the Syrian government, and the hijacking of an advance fighter plane from Iraq.
The subject of books and movies, Amit now serves as chairman of Israel’s Center for Special Studies.
Amit says he is intimately familiar with the political structure of Iran, having gone on special missions to the country during the 1960s while Israel had a relationship with Iranian leaders.
He told WND in an well-circulated interview last year he did not advocate an Israeli strike against Iran, but he suggested at the time the Jewish state assassinate Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Amit’s latest statements follow an ABC News report yesterday quoting a senior defense official in Washington saying he believes Israel may attack Iran’s nuclear facilities before the end of the year.
According to the official, two “red lines” would prompt an Israeli strike. The first trigger would be once Iran producers enough highly enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb, which U.S. and Israeli assessments predict could occur within one to two years. The second trigger, according to the official, would be Iran’s acquisition of an air defense system it is purchasing from Russia.
Last week, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton stated an Israeli attack against Iran could take place between the U.S. election in November and the presidential inauguration in January.
Bolton spoke after leaked media reports of a major Israeli military exercise over the Mediterranean involving 100 aircraft. The drill was widely seen as Israeli preparations for a possible bombing of Iran’s nuclear installations.