Former Israeli Mossad head Meir Dagan again stressed that a military strike against Iran would be a big mistake, in an interview with BBC HardTalk that aired Monday. Although he thinks it critical to prevent Iran from developing a military nuclear capability, Dagan said that any military strike against Iran could not stop Iran from doing this, and would anyway rally the Iranian population to greater support for the current Tehran government, despite the many real economic and political problems Tehran is facing.
Dagan stressed the he does not even know if Tehran has made the decision to develop a military nuclear capability, and when asked about the statements of Defense Minister Barak, said that some of the facts, at least, do not back up Barak's claim that Iran is moving its capabilities underground. Dagan urged using non-military measures to pressure Tehran, saying that even Russia and China have agreed to using sanctions, despite their objections.
As to Israel launching a unilateral pre-emptive strike, this would create a very serious problem with the U.S., he said; although Israel makes its own independent policy on key security issues, its relations with the U.S. are vital, and it would be a mistake to wreck them this way. He dismissed the criticism he has been getting in Israel, emphasizing that he is a patriot committed to keeping Israel democratic, and public debate is essential.