Ahead of Trump Decision, Four Israeli Military Chiefs Oppose Nixing Iran Nuclear Deal

Military Intelligence chief says, however, 2015 international accord emboldened Iran

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Donald Trump.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci, AP

Four Israeli former military chiefs said on Sunday that they were opposed nixing the nuclear deal with Iran. 

During a panel at a Yedioth Ahronoth conference, Shaul Mofaz, Benny Gantz, Dan Halutz and Moshe Ya'alon, say they are against withdrawing from the international accord reached in 2015. Mofaz and Ya'alon had also served as defense ministers.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called to "fix or nix" the deal, while U.S. President Donald Trump threatens to pull out of the agreement in May.

During the conference, Mofaz said that during his term as defense minister, John Bolton, Trump's newly appointed national security adviser, tried to convince Israel to strike Iran's nuclear facilities.

"I have known John Bolton ever since he was the U.S. ambassador to the UN," Mofaz said. "He tried to convince me that Israel should strike Iran."

Shaul Mofaz.
Gil Eliahu

>> Bolton pick is bad news for Iran, in good timing for Netanyahu

Speaking on a panel of four former Israeli military chiefs, Mofaz noted that he thought this was a bad idea. "I don't think this is a wise action – not on the part of the Americans but anyone else, until this threat becomes real."

Meanwhile, the head of the Israeli Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi, said on Sunday that the nuclear deal has emboldened Iran.

Israel's Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi.
\ Moti Milrod

Referring to the 2015 agreement, Halevi said: "Beyond the problems in the nuclear field and that I will not get into in detail, as a result of this agreement, since it was signed, Iran has been more daring" in supporting terrorism in the Middle East by providing arms, particularly missiles, to hostile entities in the area.

Halevi spoke figuratively of Iran "dispatching a Shi'ite arrow that is dividing the Middle East." As a result, Halevi said, enlisting the involvement of the major world powers in efforts to counter Iran is not only in Israel's interest but also in that of the entire Middle East.