Ex-Deputy Mossad Chief Slams Netanyahu: Situation Now Is Worse Than at the 2015 Nuclear Deal

YERUSHALAYIM -
netanyahu iran
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu displaying some of the secret Iranian nuclear documents obtained by Israel, in 2018.  (Reuters/Amir Cohen)

The former deputy head of the Mossad agency said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has poorly managed both the coronavirus pandemic and the struggle against the Iranian threat, in excerpts of an interview published Thursday in Yediot Acharonot.

“The bottom line was poor management. I saw poor management,” the recently retired official told Yediot in an interview set to be published in full on Friday.

Since Israel pushed for the annulment of the Iran nuclear deal, the Islamic Republic has accumulated more enriched uranium and is spreading its influence and power throughout the Middle East, “Alef” said.

“Our situation today is worse than it was at the time of the [2015] nuclear deal,” Alef said (he can still only be identified by the first initial of his name). “They didn’t stop their spread in the region for a moment. They are developing missiles… the deal we made wasn’t good; we are back to the same place.”

When Alef retired last month, it was after narrowly losing a race to be appointed the next Mossad chief and replace current director Yossi Cohen in June.

He said that one of the advance goals of the legendary January 2018 Mossad raid of the Iranian nuclear archive was to help convince former President Donald Trump to withdraw from the nuclear deal.

He said that the mission was carried out under the direction of the Cabinet and that a variety of other activities were initiated to realize that goal – hinting to other unreported operations the Mossad carried out to convince Trump to leave the deal.

“How do we break the deal?” asked Alef. “Obviously, if we succeed in getting the Americans to leave the deal, it will start falling apart until it dissolves completely. We prepared accordingly, we started processes, the archive was one of them.”

Describing a lack of satisfaction with the policy results pursued and achieved by Netanyahu from these operations, he said, “If I look at today, March 2021, then we have a situation in which there is uranium enrichment in Fordow, there is activity in Kashan, there is work at Natanz, they have accumulated 2.5 tons of enriched uranium, and now advanced centrifuges as well. But we are in a democratic system,” appearing to lay the fault with Netanyahu.

Moreover, he said that while the Iran nuclear program is an existential threat and should be viewed as the top priority, the government has wrongly mixed in issues about Iran’s role in the region and its program to smuggle precision guided missiles to Hezbollah and to Iranian proxies in Syria.

Due to mixing these issues, Alef said that by trying to address all of these issues with Tehran, Netanyahu has lost some focus and ability to put primary pressure on reducing the nuclear threat.

The Mossad is currently headed by Yossi Cohen, a close confidant of Netanyahu who served as the national security adviser before he became Mossad chief in January 2016.

Cohen’s term as Mossad leader was set to end in January, but last July Netanyahu said he would extend it until June 2021. He will be replaced by an official known only by his Hebrew initial, “Dalet.”