Middle East

Ex-Mossad chief Pardo: Bennett has no Iran strategy

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett still has not decided on an Iran strategy, though he seems to be flirting with returning to the approach of the previous government, former Mossad director Tamir Pardo said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a conference at Reichman University, Pardo said, “The question is whether Israel has a strategy regarding Iran…I think Israel still does not have a strategy. But it seems to me that the trend is for Israel to return to what was before,” referring to thematic similarities between the prior government and an earlier speech given by Bennett at the conference. 

Pardo was a firm critic of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policy which advocated open strong criticism of the US-sponsored 2015 JCPOA nuclear deal and of the Biden administration’s hope to return to the deal.

In contrast, the former Mossad chief has said that with all of its holes, the deal also has advantages and that Jerusalem must not fight with the US in public over Iran-related policy differences.

Rather, he has said Israel should work quietly behind the scenes to convince Washington to improve the deal.

Iranian flag flies in front of the UN office building, housing IAEA headquarters, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Vienna, Austria, May 24, 2021. (credit: LISI NIESNER/ REUTERS)

He explained his reasoning again on Tuesday, saying, “Can we threaten war all day?..To do a single targeted strike, there is no better force than Israel.”

However, he contrasted Israeli successful single target strikes against Iraq’s and Syria’ nuclear reactors in 1981 and 2007 with Iran, as a much harder situation.

Iran “is not the same opera,” referring to the codename for the strike on Iraq’s nuclear reactor, adding “only the US knows how” to attack Iran’s numerous nuclear facilities.

“There would be dozens of targets as opposed to the story in Iraq and Syria,” which would likely be beyond Israel’s capabilities, adding that stopping the Islamic Republic is also harder because much of its nuclear program is self-built and could be rebuilt without foreign assistance.

With Iraq and Syria, the major nuclear facilities targeted were all foreign constriction and the countries had close to zero capability to rebuild on their own.

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