Ex-Mossad chief signals Israel behind Iran nuclear attacks

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The outgoing chief of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service has provided the closest acknowledgment but his nation was behind latest attacks focusing on Iran’s nuclear program and a army scientist.

The feedback by Yossi Cohen, talking to Israel’s Channel 12 investigative program “Uvda” in a phase aired Thursday night time, provided a unprecedented debriefing by the top of the sometimes secretive company in what seems to be the final days of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rule.

It additionally gave a transparent warning to different scientists in Iran’s nuclear program that they too may turn into targets for assassination at the same time as diplomats in Vienna attempt to negotiate phrases to attempt to salvage its atomic accord with world powers.

“If the scientist is willing to change career and will not hurt us anymore, than yes, sometimes we offer them” a way out, Cohen said.

Among the major attacks to target Iran, none have struck deeper than two explosions over the last year at its Natanz nuclear facility. There, centrifuges enrich uranium from an underground hall designed to protect them from airstrikes.

In July 2020, a mysterious explosion tore apart Natanz’s advanced centrifuge assembly, which Iran later blamed on Israel. Then in April of this year, another blast tore apart one of its underground enrichment halls.

Asked about Natanz, the interviewer asked Cohen where he’d take them if they could travel there, he said “to the cellar” where “the centrifuges used to spin.”

“It doesn’t look like it used to look,” he added.

Cohen didn’t straight declare the attacks, however his specificity provided the closest acknowledgement but of an Israeli hand within the attacks. The interviewer, journalist Ilan Dayan, additionally seemingly provided an in depth description in a voiceover of how Israel snuck the explosives into Natanz’s underground halls.

“The man who was responsible for these explosions, it becomes clear, made sure to supply to the Iranians the marble foundation on which the centrifuges are placed,” Dayan stated. “As they install this foundation within the Natanz facility, they have no idea that it already includes an enormous amount of explosives.”

He also brought up the November killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an Iranian scientist who began Tehran’s military nuclear program decades ago. U.S. intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency believe Iran abandoned that organized effort at seeking a nuclear weapon in 2003. Iran long has maintained its program is peaceful.

While Cohen on camera doesn’t claim the killing, Dayan in the segment described Cohen as having “personally signed off on the whole marketing campaign.” Dayan additionally described how a remotely operated machine gun mounted to a pickup truck killed Fakhrizadeh and later self-destructed.

Cohen described an Israeli effort to dissuade Iranian scientists from participating in this system, which had seen some deserted their work after being warned, even not directly, by Israel. Asked by the interviewer if the scientists understood the implications in the event that they did not cease, Cohen stated: “They see their friends.”

Media in Israel function underneath a decades-old coverage that requires journalists to clear tales involving safety issues by means of army censors. That Cohen’s remarks apparently cleared the censors suggests Israel needed to difficulty a brand new warning to Iran amid the Vienna nuclear negotiations.

Iran has repeatedly complained about Israel’s attacks, with Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA Kazem Gharibabadi warning as not too long ago as Thursday that the incidents “not only will be responded decisively, but also certainly leave no option for Iran but to reconsider its transparency measures and cooperation policy.”

Iran’s mission to the United Nations didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark over the feedback by Cohen, who was changed by former operative David Barnea. Cohen within the interview acknowledged he may someday search the prime minister’s workplace himself.

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Associated Press author Karin Laub in Amman, Jordan, contributed to this report.

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