There is greater opposition to Iran’s nuclear program than in the past, former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen said at The Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference on Tuesday.
“I think that Iran, to this day, is not even close to acquiring a nuclear weapon... This is due to longstanding efforts by some forces in the world,” Cohen said, in response to a question by Jerusalem Post intelligence reporter Yonah Jeremy Bob, which included references to Israeli covert actions in Iran.
Cohen said Iran’s position is also weaker, in that there is “less foreign support for what [Iran is] doing than in the past.”
If Iran develops a nuclear weapon, Israel must be able to stop Iran on its own, Cohen said.
Asked if that is possible without bunker-buster bombs, Cohen responded: “We have to develop capabilities to allow us to be absolutely independent, doing what Israel has done twice before,” bombing nuclear reactors in Syria and Iraq.
“They should not sleep quietly in Iran,” he said.
Cohen said that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal is known, is a misnomer: “In the JCPOA, the C stands for comprehensive. It isn’t comprehensive; it has to be comprehensive.”
The deal must be “completely refurbished - not only in one different subject, but completely” in order to be effective, Cohen said.
“If it isn’t, Iran will continue to have the capabilities it has today, or even higher,” he added.
Cohen referred to the Mossad, under his leadership, smuggling of an entire nuclear archive from Iran into Israel in 2018. That archive referred to three previously-unknown nuclear sites in the Islamic Republic.
International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Grossi “should take these under consideration when allowing countries to sign... the future JCPOA.
“Unless Iran comes completely clean about their deeds in the past, a nuclear agreement should not be signed. Grossi should not allow that,” Cohen stated.
Cohen also spoke of his involvement in the Abraham Accords normalization and peace agreements between Israel and Arab states, calling it “one of the greatest accomplishments ever,” “a majestic thing,” and “no less than a miracle for Israel.”
“I hope, I pray that this wave will continue,” he said. “Modern nations have to be in touch with the Star of Israel today. That’s because we are so innovative. We believe we have to bring the smartest people around the globe working shoulder-to-shoulder with us and our tech.
“I believe the light of the State of Israel reaches everybody. It is known by all nations,” Cohen added.
Cohen, now head of SoftBank Israel’s investment operations, deflected questions about whether he plans to enter politics, saying: “I’m in business now.”