BEIRUT

Middle East

Mossad hints nuclear Iran not existential threat to Israel: report

BEIRUT: The chief of Mossad has reportedly hinted that a nuclear-armed Iran does not necessarily pose an existential threat to the Jewish state, Hareetz said Thursday.

The newspaper quoted Israeli ambassadors at a briefing by Mossad’s director Tamir Pardo Tuesday as suggesting that should the Islamic Republic attain nuclear-weapons capability, this would not necessarily pose an existential threat to Israel.

"What is the significance of the term existential threat? Does Iran pose a threat to Israel? Absolutely. But if one said a nuclear bomb in Iranian hands was an existential threat, that would mean that we would have to close up shop and go home. That's not the situation. The term existential threat is used too freely," one of the ambassadors, who spoke to the Israeli newspapers, quoted Pardo as saying.

The ambassadors said Pardo had not commented on whether Israel was preparing for a military operation against Iran.

"But what was clearly implied by his remarks is that he doesn't think a nuclear Iran is an existential threat to Israel," one of the ambassadors told Haaretz.

On Dec. 18, Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that his country and the U.S. were determined to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear arms, while President Barack Obama vowed not to take options off the table in terms of facing Tehran’s nuclear capabilities.

Last month, the International Atomic Energy Agency said it had credible information that the Islamic Republic was carrying out "activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device."

Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful and medical means and power generation purposes only, as it faces punitive international sanctions over such activities.

 

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