Former Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen: Iran Is ‘Not Even Close’ To Acquiring Nuclear Weapon

Head of the Mossad Yossi Cohen, seen at a ceremony for the appointment of the new chief of Intelligence, at Glilot military base, near Tel Aviv, March 28, 2018. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90

JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen dismissed Prime Minister Bennett’s claim that the Netanyahu government had failed in preventing Iran from advancing its nuclear program.

Speaking at the Jerusalem Post Conference which convened at the Museum of Tolerance in downtown Jerusalem, Cohen said that “I think that Iran, to this day, is not even close to acquiring a nuclear weapon… This is due to longstanding efforts by some forces in the world.” Cohen was responding to a query by Jerusalem Post intelligence reporter Yonah Jeremy Bob about Israel’s actions in Iran.

Cohen stressed that Iran’s position is weaker than before sinc there is “less foreign support for what [it is] doing than in the past,”

If Iran develops a nuclear weapon, Israel must be able to stop it on its own, Cohen said.
Asked if that would be possible without bunker-buster bombs, he responded: “We have to develop capabilities to allow us to be absolutely independent, doing what Israel has done twice before” – bombing nuclear reactors in Syria and Iraq

“They should not sleep quietly in Iran,” he added.

Cohen’s position is opposed by many other echelons of the Israeli security establishment. In August, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Iran was only two months away from acquiring the materials necessary for a nuclear weapon. And in July, former IDF chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot said Iran was the closest it had ever been to a nuclear bomb.

At the UN General Assembly last month, Bennett warned that Iran’s nuclear weapons program was “at a critical point,” what he called a “watershed moment,” and that “all red lines have been crossed.”

However Cohen, who directed the Mossad from 2016-2021 in which numerous covert actions were taken against the Iranian program, stressed that at present there is no source for concern but Israel should not be complacent and accept the JCPOA deal at face value.

“The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, is a misnomer, Cohen said. “In the JCPOA, the C stands for comprehensive,” he said. “It isn’t comprehensive; it has to be comprehensive.”

The deal must be “completely refurbished – not only in one different subject, but completely” – to be effective, Cohen said. “If it isn’t, Iran will continue to have the capabilities it has today or even higher.”

Cohen described how the Mossad, under his leadership, smuggled an entire nuclear archive from Iran into Israel in 2018. That archive referred to three previously unknown nuclear sites in the Islamic Republic.

International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Grossi “should take these under consideration when allowing countries to sign… the future JCPOA,” he said.

“Unless Iran comes completely clean about their deeds in the past, a nuclear agreement should not be signed,” he added. “Grossi should not allow that.”

Cohen, who is now the head of SoftBank Israel’s investment operations, deflected questions about whether he plans to enter politics. “I’m in business now,” he said.

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