Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan said on Sunday that Iran’s leadership is using “smart” diplomacy to advance its nuclear program, and that the Iranian threat is not a “quarrel” between Israel and Iran, but an international issue.
Speaking at a conference sponsored by the Jerusalem Post in New York, Dagan described President Ahmadinejad’s regime as “smart” and “a master of diplomacy that heads forward consistently to achieve its nuclear objectives.”
It is wrong to describe the issue as a “quarrel between Israel and Iran,” Dagan asserted, adding that the Iranian problem “must be solved by the international community.”
Earlier at the conference, Dagan backed former head of the Shin Bet security service, Yuval Diskin, who sharply criticized the Israeli leadership over the weekend. Diskin criticized Netanyahu and Barak on their bellicose stance on Iran, as well as what he called the premier’s unwillingness to advance peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.
Dagan said that Diskin was his friend, and added that he “spoke his own truth.”
The former Mossad chief said that he agrees with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government that the Iran threat is a real problem, but disagrees with their policy on solving it. If the problem will not be resolved, Dagan added, a nuclear arms race will begin “all over the world, and not just in the Middle East.”
Dagan also referred to the peace process with the Palestinians, saying that the issue should be resolved urgently, because it has had a “destructive effect” on Israel’s relations with the Arab world. Time is of the essence, Dagan added.
Regarding the situation in Syria, Dagan said he supports the removal of President Bashar Assad, but did not mention how this goal should be achieved, only stating that there is a need to find a way to establish a Sunni regime in Assad’s place that has the support of Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states. This kind of development, Dagan said, will weaken the military and political force of Hezbollah, and the status of Iran in the region.