Mossad chief Meir Dagan on Tuesday told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the riots in Iran over the election results will die out in a few days rather than escalate into a revolution.
"The reality in Iran is not going to change because of the elections. The world and we already know [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad. If the reformist candidate [Mir Hossein] Mousavi had won, Israel would have had a more serious problem because it would need to explain to the world the danger of the Iranian threat, since Mousavi is perceived internationally arena as a moderate element ... It is important to remember that he is the one who began Iran's nuclear program when he was prime minister."
According to Dagan, "Election fraud in Iran is no different than what happens in liberal states during elections. The struggle over the election results in Iran is internal and is unconnected to its strategic aspirations, including its nuclear program."
Dagan also told the committee the Mossad believed that Iran would have its first nuclear bomb ready for action in 2014, "If the project continues at the present rate and is not interrupted."
The Mossad chief said that Western sanctions affect Iran but do not stop its nuclear aspirations, and that the Iranians were trying to evade these sanctions. "The international community must enforce the sanctions and continue this policy." Dagan said that if the sanctions were sufficiently harsh they could stop Iran's nuclear program.
With regard to Iran's support for Hezbollah and Hamas, a senior Mossad official told the committee Tuesday that Iran was continuing to fund and control Hezbollah, but its control of Hamas was limited for now. The official explained that Hamas is maintaining its independence because of its extensive relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood. However, defense officials also say that relations between Hamas and Iran will grow stronger in the future. "The reason for the strengthening of these ties is money and arms, both of which Hamas needs and Iran is willing to give."
According to the senior official, Iran wants to strengthen its position in the region and reach the hegemony Egypt enjoyed in the 1960s and '70s. These aspirations are a cause of great tension in and concern among moderate states in the region such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states.
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