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January 22, 2015 11:41 am

Mossad Chief Denies Report He Warned US Against Iran Sanctions

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Mossad chief Tamir Pardo raises a glass of wine with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo:

Mossad chief Tamir Pardo raises a glass of wine with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo:

The head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service Tamir Pardo has denied a report which claimed he and other senior Mossad officials expressed opposition to a US bill imposing further sanctions on Iran – a position seen as diametrically opposite that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported Thursday.

“Contrary to what has been reported, the Head of the Mossad did not say that he opposes imposing additional sanctions on Iran,” read a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office.

According to the release, “the Head of the Mossad emphasized in the meeting that the exceptional effectiveness of the sanctions imposed on Iran in recent years are what brought Iran to the negotiating table.”

The original report, published by Bloomberg, contended that there were differences of opinion between the White House and Netanyahu and that Mossad officials backed the White House in claiming that sanctions against Tehran would hurt efforts to reach an agreement on nuclear enrichment.

US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said on Wednesday that a senior Israeli intelligence official told a Congressional delegation that recently visited Israel that additional sanctions would be “like throwing a grenade into the process.”

The Israeli statement, however, denied that charge, as well.

“Regarding the reported reference to ‘throwing a grenade,’ the Head of the Mossad did not use this expression regarding the imposition of sanctions, which he believes to be the sticks necessary for reaching a good deal with Iran,” according to the statement.

Pardo “used this expression as a metaphor to describe the possibility of creating a temporary crisis in the negotiations at the end of which talks would resume under improved conditions. The Head of the Mossad pointed out explicitly that the bad agreement taking shape with Iran is likely to lead to a regional arms race,” according to the statement.

According to the Channel 2 report, Obama administration officials have pointed to the supposed disagreements to argue against the bill, according to which additional sanctions would be activated if the current negotiations on the nuclear issue fall through.

However, “The Head of the Mossad noted that in negotiating with Iran, it is essential to present both carrots and sticks and that the latter are currently lacking. The Head of the Mossad noted further that in the absence of strong pressure, the Iranians will make no meaningful compromises.”

Under the bill, if an agreement is not reached between Iran and world powers on the nuclear issue by the end of June, additional sanctions will be imposed. US President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the proposal if it is approved by Congress.

Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday invited Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of Congress on February 11 – which happens to be the 36th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution. While the invitation was seen as a defiant move against Obama, the visit is expected to go through.

This will be the third time that Netanyahu will have addressed both houses of Congress, a record apparently held by only one other foreign leader: Winston Churchill.

Boehner said he invited Netanyahu “to address Congress on the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life.”

While Reuters said Netanyahu reportedly mulled requesting a visit with Obama, “The President will not be meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu because of the proximity to the Israeli election,” the White House said in a statement released Thursday.

On Wednesday, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) charged that the administration’s positions on talks with Iran came off, “like talking points that come straight out of Tehran.”

Menendez, speaking at a senate hearing, said his impression was that the administration backed “the Iranian narrative of victimization,” countering that, “they are the ones with original sin, an illicit nuclear weapons program going back over the course of 20 years that they are unwilling to come clean on. So I don’t know why we feel compelled to make their case.”

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  • Yale

    The Iranians have made it perfectly clear that they intend to continue their quest for the bomb regardless of what goes on at the “negotiations”. It is only Obama who thinks that more talk will lead them to back down. In making this claim, he is either demonstrating that he is not in contact with reality or is actively working against the interests of the US, the Western world, and the nonproliferation community.

    Some form of coercion will be necessary to change Iran’s policy. The options are sanctions or a military strike. Contrary to what Obama has said (whether he actually believes this is something else), the only way to make a military action unnecessary is sanctions. By opposing sanctions, Obama is creating a situation in which the West will be left with a choice between allowing Iran to get the bomb and attacking Iran’s weapons development sites.

    But there is also a domestic dimension to this: Congress will pass the sanctions, whether Obama likes it or not, and he will then veto the bill. Suppose Congress then overrides his veto. Does anyone believe Obama will comply with the law and enforce them? And when he doesn’t, don’t we then find ourselves in an impeachment context?

  • steven L

    You are missing a major point. There will be no deal and the Obama Adm keeps extending these useless meetings until he gets out leaving a possible catastrophic situation for the next Pr. By that time Iran will have claimed that they got what they need. Then what.
    The 4 + 1 + 1 must give an ultimatum and set a date for the final deal and then decide if they are satisfy or not and then do what they MUST do. Iran will cheat no matter what.

    1) disabling sanctions
    2) embargo
    3) Targeted bombing
    Should be the thee sticks if the 4 + (2) are not satisfy even though we already know that neither Russia nor China will veto anything short of extending useless discussions.

    The Congress and Senate may have to impose a deadline on the US President.
    It looks like the Pr is trying to impose a “fait accompli” on the West.

  • john

    Anything Iran says or does to gain favor for more nuke power is trouble nukes for Iran ,they will share with all Arab states and then bomb Israel and if you study Nostradamus be careful those sand n—–s are soulless animals ..attention no virgins left in heaven ,just Susan Boyle , and her ugly sisters and brothers that were sexually reassigned ,you`ll get all in package deal ..
    PS..little piss-pot countries shouldn’t be ” warning ” the U.S.about anything

    seems odd to me that never does Mossad express opinions or views in the press. They are not built like that. At least that has been the experience of many. I must concur that this is shoddy reporting by whoever put these words in the mouth of anyone. What is to gain from this rhetoric?

    • howiej

      “(N)ever does Mossad”, “the experience of many.” A little contradiction? What is to be gained is Obama and his administration undercut Netanyahu to influence the Israeli elections and also the support for Israel in Congress. Congressional sanctions will take place after Obama has had his chance once again to get the Iranians to end their aim of getting nuclear weapons. Obama has set deadlines and then extends them time after time. The Iranians continue to develop nuclear weapons.

    • steven L

      To create “Zizani” btw the US people (congress and senate) and Israel. To break the will of the senate with false messages from the administration perhaps..

  • Valery

    US lawmakers who favor new sanctions against Iran, behave irresponsibly.
    It is necessary to wait until the end of talks on Tehran’s nuclear program – and only then draw conclusions.
    I totally agree with the head of the Mossad Tamir Pardo: it would be a diversion against the peace process and the difficult and complex negotiations.

    • Leo Toystory

      Why wait only till the end of the talks?
      Why not wait till NYC, Washington D.C., Houston, Los Angeles and Tel Aviv are all struck by EMP bombs?
      Then we could really draw some conclusions!

    • howiej

      Congress does not behave irresponsibly by passing sanctions that will take place after the scheduled talks are ended. Obama has set several dates for the talks to end with Iran giving up the quest for nuclear weapons and then continually agrees to extend them.
      Your last paragraph is completely at odds with what was written. Reread what was written. The head of Mossad said that without strong pressure, the Iranians will not feel that they need to compromise.