Ehud Olmert speaking at a conference in New York, April 29, 2012.
Ehud Olmert speaking at a conference in New York, April 29, 2012. Photo by Mark Israel Salem
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Israel could take part in a possible military strike on Iran, but should not lead it, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told CNN on Monday, saying that military action should take place only as if all other efforts fail.

Olmert's remarks on Iran join a recent and heated Israeli debate on the issue, as current and past officials publicly criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's stance on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.

Most recently, former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin said he has "no faith" in Netanyahu's and Defense Minister Ehud Barak's ability to lead Israel to war with Iran, portraying them as "messianic."

Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan backed its counterpart on Sunday, saying Diskin spoke "his own truth." Dagan is known as an opposition to Netanyahu's and Barak's militant stand, saying there is still time left to pressure Iran diplomatically to withdraw its nuclear intentions.

In a recent interview for Israel's Independence Day, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff contradicted Netanyahu and Barak when he said the international sanctions are working, adding that he sees the Iranian regime as "very rational". Days later Barak was quoted saying Iranian regime is rational, "but not in the western sense of the word."

Speaking to CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Monday, Olmert was asked about this "war within Israel" on how to deal with Iran's nuclear program, with the former PM saying: "I don't think there is a war, there is a serious and genuine dispute."

"The last resort is a military action, and I prefer it to be an American action, supported by the international community, if all the other efforts will fail," Olmert answered, saying Israel should only have a secondary role in such a scenario.

"The United States should be the one that decides on it, on the scope of it, on the extent of it, its cooperation," said Olmert. "Israel certainly could be a part of the effort, but Israel should not lead it."