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Iran poses no ‘existential threat’ to Israel - ex-Mossad chief

Published time: February 06, 2012 11:03
Edited time: February 06, 2012 15:18

An Israeli soldier stands next to a launcher, part of the first "Iron Dome" missile defense system deployed in Israel, near the southern city of Beer Sheva (AFP Photo / David Buimovitch)

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Israel and Iran have no other conflict aside from the latter’s nuclear ambitions, former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy has told RT in an interview. As the threat of military action escalates, Halevy believes a peaceful outcome is still possible.

Despite the ongoing conflict, Halevy thinks there are still people on both sides who want peace in the region; people who want an end to the current confrontation and a return to the kind of relations the two countries enjoyed from 1948-1978.

“Iran and Israel basically do not have bones of contention,” he said. “I think it would be wrong for Iran to allow ideology to be the main driver of its policies and the cause of serious setbacks.”

Halevy argues that talk of Iran posing an “existential threat” to Israel is merely Tel Aviv using big words to impress the international community.

“I think Israel is strong enough to protect itself, to take care of itself. I think ultimately it is not in the power of Iran to destroy the state of Israel,” he told RT. “I believe the leadership believes that in order to arouse international public opinion, in order to mount pressure on the Iranians, it is necessary to impress upon the world at large that this is a serious international threat.”

Halevy says that there is an assumption internationally that Israel possesses nuclear weapons. Whether it is true or merely a bluff no-one can tell. But whatever the truth is, the assumption serves Israel’s interests.

“This is something which is important in the present situation because part of the game now is deterrence. It is very important to deter Iran. If Iran believes Israel has certain capabilities, whether it has or not, I think this is a positive card in the hands of Israel,” he told RT.

When asked whether Mossad’s current mission is preventing war or weakening Iran, he said the mission of Mossad was “to do everything in its capabilities to make a threat which has been opposed to Israel dormant.”

“We have been in what we call a clandestine war for quite some time with Iran. What’s interesting about this war is both sides have more or less preferred that the details of this war, the details of various events, not be exposed to the public,” said Halevy.

The only way Iran could be “reintroduced into the family of nations from which they have been virtually expelled in recent months,” says Halevy, is if it emerges as a “a non-nuclear Iran with an agreement with the Israelis that they will not become nuclear.”

Halevy says this could be possible, especially now, because “international pressure, which has been building up in recent months, is beginning to have serious effects.”