Former Mossad Chief: Nuclear Iran Must Not Be Neglected Like North Korea

Meir Dagan tells Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Iran is intent on acquiring nuclear weapons and could expedite that process.

Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan warned Monday that Iran could expedite its timeline to develop nuclear weapons faster than expected.

"The Iranian nuclear challenge will remain a very significant challenge," Dagan said, in his final address to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. "No schedule will change the important fact that Iran is striving for military nuclear capability and in certain scripts, could shorten the time [needed]."

Meir Dagan
Nir Keidar

"It is important for us to learn the lessons of North Korea, which was not dealt with accordingly and did not get the attention of the international community," he added. The intelligence community must deal with these challenges and I believe in the State of Israel's ability to contend successfully."

Dagan, who retired from his post earlier last week after eight years, said during his address that he does not believe Iran will have nuclear capability before 2015.

In a summary given to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Dagan said Iran was a long way from being able to produce nuclear weapons, following a series of failures that had set its program back by several years.

Dagan handed over the job to his successor, Tamir Pardo, in the Prime Minister’s Bureau Thursday morning, after having parted from the ministers during last Sunday’s cabinet session.

The former Mossad chief had said on various occasions in the past that Israel should go to war only if attacked, or if in immediate danger of survival.

Dagan concluded his term saying Iran was still far from being capable of producing nuclear weapons and that a series of malfunctions had put off its nuclear goal for several years. Therefore, he said, Iran will not get hold of the bomb before 2015 approximately.