Former Mossad chief criticizes Israel for not using diplomacy with Iran

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Former chief of Israeli intelligence service, Mossad, has criticized the Jewish state’s diplomacy toward Iran and called for dialogue between the West and the Islamic republic, an American news website reported on Sunday.

“If the purpose was to exert pressure to bring the other side to the table, the rhetoric should be different,” the American news website, Al-Monitor, reported Efraim Halevy saying in reference to Israeli diplomacy to Iran.

Achieving a deal with Iran would be “extremely difficult. It needs a lot of creativity. And courage, political courage,” he added.

Halevy went on to stress the need for negotiating with Iran.

“I realized that dialogue with an enemy is essential. There is nothing to lose. Although the claim was, if you talk to them, you legitimize them. But by not talking to them, you don’t de-legitimate them. So this convinced me, that we all have been very superficial in dealing with our enemies.”

Halevy has served as Mossad’s chief under three Israeli prime ministers and also led the secret negotiations with Jordan’s King Hussein that resulted in the 1994 peace treaty between the two countries.

The former chief also criticized what he called America’s “traditional” stance on Iran. “[Politicians often prefer] a clear sound bite rather than a policy. ‘Axis of evil,’ three words solved the problem. The U.S. is trapped by the way it treated Iran in the past and [...] it is limiting its options.”

Unlike Israel, which has long championed more of a war approach against Iran to halt the Islamic republic from developing any nuclear weapons, the United States has followed more of a diplomatic approach including sanctions.

For the former Mossad chief, the Iranians are already feeling the pressure of international sanctions aimed at subduing their nuclear capability.

“The Iranians, in their heart of hearts, would like to get out of their conundrum, the sanctions have been very effective. They are beginning to really hurt.”

Early October, Iran’s currency has fallen in value by about 40 percent mainly due to strong Western sanctions.

Meanwhile, Iran and the United States denied a recent New York Times report saying that they were direct nuclear talks between Tehran and Washington.

Israel’s deputy premier said on Sunday that while he was aware of U.S. attempts to directly negotiate with Iran over its nuclear program but he did not believe such talks had actually taken place.
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