Yossi Cohen’s comments echo those made last week by Israel’s Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Tamir Hayman.
Contrary to warnings that Iran could obtain a nuclear weapon within months, a former head of Mossad has said that the Islamic Republic is years away from nuclear capability as other countries won’t let them develop one.
“I think that Iran, to this day, is not even close to acquiring a nuclear weapon,” Yossi Cohen told the Jerusalem Post’s Diplomatic Conference.
“This is due to longstanding efforts by some forces in the world,” he explained.
Iran is also in a weaker position comparatively as there is “less foreign support for what [Iran is] doing than in the past,” Cohen added.
Cohen’s comments contradicted the warnings of Israel’s Defense Secretary Benny Gantz, who in August warned that Iran was “only two months away” from developing the materials required for nuclear capability, with military experts warning that it would take just a few more months to assemble them into a nuclear threat.
However, Cohen’s opinion aligns with that of Israel’s Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Tamir Hayman who last wee told Channel 12 that, according to most current estimations, Iran is at least two years away from a bomb.
Whatever the time frame, it is clear that Iran has its sights set on a nuclear bomb. If that is achieved, Cohen opined, Israel needs to be able to neuralise that threat on its own.
“We have to develop capabilities to allow us to be absolutely independent, doing what Israel has done twice before,” he said, referring to the bombing of nuclear reactors in Syria and Iraq.
“They should not sleep quietly in Iran,” he added.
On the JCPOA, Cohen suggested that the plan doesn’t go far enough. “In the JCPOA, the C stands for comprehensive. It isn’t comprehensive; it has to be comprehensive,” he said.
To be effective, the plan must be “completely refurbished – not only in one different subject, but completely,” he said, adding: “If it isn’t, Iran will continue to have the capabilities it has today, or even higher.”
In 2018, under Cohen’s leadership, the Mossad smuggled an archive out of Iran which revealed the existence of three previously-unknown nuclear sites.