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Erdan: Dagan's Statements a Danger to Israel

Minister Gilad Erdan: Former Mossad chief's remarks that Iran is 'rational' are a danger to Israel's security interests.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 3/11/2012, 3:36 AM

Meir Dagan
Meir Dagan
Flash 90

Environment Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) attacked on Saturday the statements made by former Mossad chief Meir Dagan to CBS’ “60 Minutes”.

In the interview, which will air on Sunday and of which portions were released Thursday, Dagan said, “An attack on Iran before you are exploring all other approaches is not the right way how to do it.”

According to Dagan, who spoke with Lesley Stahl, “The regime in Iran is a very rational regime.” When asked whether he thinks Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is rational, he answered, “The answer is yes. Not exactly our rational, but I think that he is rational.”

“No doubt that the Iranian regime is maybe not exactly rational based on what I call Western thinking, but no doubt they are considering all the implications of their actions,” Dagan told Stahl.

Dagan has more than once expressed his position that an Israeli attack in Iran would be a mistake.

In response to Dagan, Erdan said, “Dagan's political ambitions bring him to make statements that cause damage to Israel.”

“Even if, surprisingly, Dagan sees in the Iranian regime a kind of rationality, it is clear that when the security interest of Israel is to convince the world to work in any way to prevent the nuclearization of Iran, this statement undermines the effort of the country's leadership and calls into question the rationality of Dagan himself,” added Erdan.

Last month, Dagan said he does not believe a nuclear Iran would be an existential threat to Israel. The position puts him at odds with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has referred to an Iranian nuclear bomb as an existential threat to Israel more than once.

Dagan previously said the Netanyahu government’s policies on Iran are irresponsible, and publicly warned against attacking Iran. He said that an aerial attack on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facilities would be a “dumb idea, the stupidest thing I have ever heard.”

The Prime Minister’s Office subsequently threatened to confiscate his diplomatic passport because of his remarks.

He later said that Israel’s system of government needs an overhaul, adding senior officials were seeking to silence his opposition to striking Iran's nuclear program.