The outgoing head of the Mossad spy agency urged Israel to take action against Iran to teach it a lesson and deter the Islamic Republic.
Yossi Cohen’s comments at a ceremony in central Israel on Sunday came after a period when Iran’s nuclear program has been rocked by a series of mysterious setbacks, some of which are believed to be attacks on Israel.
“Activities against the Iranian regime must be stepped up so that it understands that crossing its borders will cause immense damage,” Cohen said at a ceremony at Bar Ilan University, where he received an honorary doctorate.
“To be successful, we need leadership and courage, a willingness to act. Today’s security operation is no less important than tomorrow’s war, ”he said, describing security as“ the foundation that enables us to live meaningful lives ”.
Cohen has headed Israel’s legendary intelligence agency since 2016, but will be replaced in the coming days by David Barnea, who was appointed to the Mossad post last week.
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During this time, Israel and Iran waged an intense covert war that has increasingly come into the public eye.
Israel has been blamed for a number of mysterious fires and explosions at Natanz and other nuclear facilities, including a power outage apparently caused by an explosion that damaged the centrifuges there last month and the murder of leading nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh last year.
The attacks have hampered US efforts to resume talks with Iran to re-join the nuclear deal. This has been rejected by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has accused Iran of prosecuting nuclear weapons and calling for global sanctions to be punished.
Cohen, who also played a leading role in drafting normalization efforts with the Gulf States, is considered a close confidante of Netanyahu. Rumor has it that he is Netanyahu’s choice to follow him as Likud leader.