The head of Mossad, Yossi Cohen, will be meeting in the next few weeks with President Biden to discuss Iran. It’s a hopeful sign. Cohen know as much about Iran’s nuclear program, and how to stop it, as anyone alive. And the Mossad has done more to set back that program than any other spy agency in the world. Joe Biden is well aware of that, and of Mossad’s near-mythic prowess in dealing with its enemies to guarantee the security of the Jewish state. If anyone can lucidly lay out the case against the U.S.returning to the Iran deal without demanding modifications, that person is Yossi Cohen. The upcoming visit, and what will be discussed, is laid out here.
When Mossad agents in 2018 discovered Iran’s entire nuclear archive in a nondescript building in central Iran, blasting their way through 32 steel doors, to make off with 100,000 documents detailing the secret facilities Iran had been hiding from the IAEA, and the intense national effort to produce nuclear weapons, they provided evidence of the massive scale of Iran’s deception before the 2015 nuclear deal. Mossad has since then been steadily collecting information on the Iran’s progress in its nuclear project, and Iran’s continued deception of the parties to the JCPOA.
The Israelis have been running circles around the Iranians, in their campaign to slow down Iran’s nuclear program. There was Stuxnet, the computer worm introduced by Mossad in 2010 that caused 1,000 of Iranian centrifuges to speed up so fast they destroyed themselves. There were the assassinations, between 2010 and 2012, of four of Iran’s top nuclear scientists. There was the sabotage – an inside job by Mossad – which destroyed a new advanced centrifuge plant in Natanz in 2020. And in August of 2020, Mossad agents assassinated the scientific mastermind of Iran’s nuclear program, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. There are also other deeds of derring-do by Mossad in Europe, where it has uncovered, in both Germany and the U.K., Hezbollah storehouses of ammonium nitrates – discoveries that Mossad brought to the attention of both the British and German governments, which led them to ban both of Hezbollah’s “wings” (political and military) as a single terror group. All this is known to President Biden and his National Security Team; they are surely mightily impressed. When Cohen speaks about Iran’s plans, its endless deceptions, and its regional aggressions, they will listen very carefully, with great respect. Cohen was exactly the right man to lay out what the U.S. needs to do – with Israel’s indispensable help – to prevent Iran from acquiring the nuclear weapons it is hellbent on producing. As the head of Mossad, Yossi Cohen has star power – it doesn’t hurt your cause when you also look like Hollywood’s idea of the head of Mossad — which is a useful thing, when you are trying to convince the Biden administration of the continuing deceptions by Iran.
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…Were the US nonetheless move to rejoin the nuclear deal, Cohen will present the following demands that Israel’s government believes must be incorporated, Channel 12 said: That Iran must halt the enriching of uranium; stop producing advanced centrifuges; cease supporting terror groups, foremost [among them] Lebanon’s Hezbollah; end its military presence in Iraq, Syria and Yemen; stop terror activity against Israeli targets overseas; and grant full access to the IAEA on all aspects of its nuclear program….
For each of these demands, Cohen can reveal the precise details of what Iran is now doing. Iran is continuing to build up its stockpile of low-enriched uranium and now holds roughly 12 times the amount permitted under the 2015 nuclear agreement, according to the United Nations Atomic Agency. And it is not only the amounts of enriched uranium it has produced, but the fact that the enrichment levels are far beyond the levels agreed upon in the JCPOA. Since Iran has repeatedly shown it cannot be trusted either in the amounts of enriched uranium, or in the level of enrichment achieved, Israel wants to make sure that it halts its uranium enrichment altogether. It also has to stop using advanced centrifuges that give it the ability to ramp up production very quickly of enriched uranium.
Cohen is also asking the Biden administration to exact a promise from Iran to stop supporting terror groups, and especially to end its support of Hezbollah. Iran’s regional aggression, its attempt to build a Shi’a crescent from Yemen (with the Houthis), to Iraq (with Kata’ib Hezbollah), to Syria (with the Alawite-officered army of Bashar al-Assad),and finally, to Lebanon (with Hezbollah), according to the Israelis, must end. The Israelis and Gulf Arab states agree that Iran’s proxies and allies, of which Hezbollah is by far the most dangerous, with 150,000 missiles and rockets stored in Lebanon, have to be deprived of Iran’s support. The Biden administration needs to be informed about Hezbollah’s activities, too, outside the Middle East, and how Mossad helped more European countries to choose to ban both “wings” of Hezbollah as a single terror group. Biden, Blinken, and Sullivan should be reminded that Iran has been responsible for terror attacks world-wide not just on Israelis, but on Jews. In Buenos Aires, for example, there were the two massive attacks by Hezbollah, first at the Israeli Embassy in 1992, which killed 29 and wounded more than a hundred, and the 1994 blowing up of the Argentinian Israelite Association, which killed 85 and wounded several hundred.
Another request, that the Americans insist that Iran give the IAEA inspectors full access to its nuclear facilities is indispensable, for as we all know, for decades Iran has been hiding some of its nuclear facilities, fooling inspectors from the IAEA, both before the 2015 Iran deal, and after. No agreement with Iran makes sense without guarantees of thorough inspection by the IAEA; no part of iran should be declared off-limits to the IAEA inspectors including, of course, what has been built inside the mountain at Fordow.
The last request that Cohen will be making is that Iran be required, before American sanctions can be lifted, to end its military presence in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Of the six requests Yossi Cohen will be bringing to President Biden, this is, for Israel, the least essential. The Houthis in Yemen, whom Iran supports with weapons, are a threat primarily to Saudi Arabia, not to Israel. In Syria, Iranian bases are being bombed at will by Israel, which has that situation under control, and if Iran is no longer going to be supporting Hezbollah, it will have less need for the bases in Syria it now uses to transfer weaponry to the terror group. In Iraq, the Shi’a militia Kata’ib Hezbollah is supported by an Iranian presence, members of the IRGC (Revolutionary Guards), but Iran’s presence in southern Iraq is much more threatening to Iraq’s Sunnis, to Saudi Arabia, and to the U.A.E., than to distant Israel. It might be a request that Israel is bringing precisely in order to yield on th, as a way to demonstrate its willingness to compromise, in order that its other, much more important demands, are met.
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