JERUSALEM – Israel Mossad Intelligence Director Meir Dagan has presented optimistic reports concerning Iran’s nuclear advances to Israel’s Knesset Parliament Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
In his annual survey of Israel’s political and security situation, delivered before members of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the Mossad director noted several setbacks plaguing the Iranian nuclear program. “The Iranians are advancing new generation centrifuges, but are facing many technological difficulties.”
Mr. Dagan noted that the Iranians were unable to advance at the pace they were hoping, and that this was certainly of consequence as to when they could expect to attain their goals. “The Iranian willingness to reach an agreement with Turkey and Brazil concerning uranium enrichment beyond their borders is an attempt to pull a rabbit out of their hat, and aimed at causing a last minute divide in the international community to thwart sanctions in the U.N. Security Council.”
Mr. Dagan said that Iran was seeking nuclear capabilities as a strategic goal and that it believed that reaching such a goal would preclude any future threat to the regime.
However, despite reports of difficulties, the Mossad director explained that Iran was gaining experience in weapons production. “They are continuing to accumulate uranium in small amounts. They already have a ton and a half. And they have also begun enriching uranium at high levels of 20 percent. By doing so they are gaining experience.”
Members of the Knesset were told that the Mossad predicts that the American sanctions, on which Congress is expected to vote soon, could be effective against the Iranians.
Concerning the crisis in U.S.-Israeli relations, Mr. Dagan said that Israel’s standing was eroding among the Americans.
“There is less cooperation between Israel and the U.S., and the administration believes that Israel’s handling of the conflict is inconsistent with their view of a solution. There is a diminishing appreciation of Israel as being an asset in the United States. In the past, Israel enjoyed a higher standing. Over time, this has eroded.”
He said that top on the U.S. priority today was to end its military presence in Iraq and to exterminate al-Qaida. “They are investing a great deal of energy in this. The issue of nuclear weapons in Iran takes only second place.”