Hysteria over Iran’s alleged nuclear-weapons program has been steadily rising among some U.S. and Israeli officials. But Tamir Pardo (left), the chief of Israel’s intelligence service known as the Mossad, said last week that a nuclear weapon in the hands of the Iranian government would not necessarily pose an “existential threat” to the Jewish state.
“What is the significance of the term ‘existential’?” Pardo was quoted as saying in an article by the Washington Times. Citing Israeli diplomats who met with the spy chief last week in a closed-door session, the paper reported that, according to Pardo, the danger posed by a hypothetical nuclear weapon in Iranian hands was being overblown.
“If you said a nuclear bomb in Iranian hands was an ‘existential’ threat, that would mean that we would have to close up shop,” the Mossad boss told the gathering of about 100 Israeli ambassadors. “That’s not the situation. The term is used too freely.”
Speaking to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, several diplomats said Pardo had stated that a nuclear-armed Iran would “absolutely” pose a threat to the nation. But even if the Iranian regime were to acquire a bomb, the intelligence chief was quoted as saying, it would not mean the destruction of Israel.
Still, Israeli officials are already working to disrupt Iran’s supposed nuclear-arms program using various measures, Pardo reportedly told the ambassadors. And they will continue to do so indefinitely.
The head of Israel’s powerful spy agency did not comment on the much-discussed possibility of a military attack on Iran, according to ambassadors cited in press reports. But other U.S. and Israeli officials have become increasingly vocal in promoting a preemptive strike, with some lawmakers and leaders openly proposing an armed confrontation to prevent Iran from acquiring the hypothetical bomb.
Tough international sanctions have already been imposed on Iran, and many experts view such measures as akin to an act of war. In mid-December, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak also said his government and U.S. officials were determined to stop the Iranian regime from developing the nuclear weapon it is allegedly seeking.
President Obama, meanwhile, has refused to rule out military intervention against Iran even as the U.S. government turns up the heat on the Syrian government and fights multiple unconstitutional wars at home and abroad. And prominent advocates for a new war on Iran — “war mongers,” neo-cons, and “war hawks,” as critics refer to them — can be found on both sides of the aisle in Congress.* *