Israel ‘scales back covert operations in Iran’, says Time magazine

Israel and Iran

The Israeli government has instructed the country’s intelligence services to “scale back” their covert operations in Iran, according to Time magazine. The American publication quotes anonymous “senior Israeli security officials”, who argue that the Jewish state’s covert activities in Iran have been scaled down by “dozens of percent” in recent months. The alleged reduction is said to include “a wide spectrum of operations”, but has mostly affected some of Israel’s most high-profile covert actions. The latter include regular assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists in Tehran and the alleged sabotage of Iranian missile bases. These are said to include a blast at an Iranian military base near the city of Isfahan, in central Iran, which is home to one of Iran’s most active nuclear facilities. They are also said to include a massive explosion in 2011 at an Iranian missile depot near Tehran, which killed at least 17 people, including Major General Hassan Moqqadam, described by Iran’s state media as the “founder of Iran’s missile program”. According to Time, the reduction in Israeli covert operations inside Iran was ordered by none other than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The magazine quotes a “senior security officer” in Israel who claims that the Israeli leader is “worried about the consequences of an [Israeli] covert operation being discovered by Iranian counterintelligence”. There is also a sense in Tel Aviv, says Time, citing “Israeli officials”, that Mossad intelligence planners have largely exhausted their major targets inside Iran at this stage. Nevertheless, the decision to scale back intelligence operations on Iranian territory has reportedly “caused increasing dissatisfaction” inside the Mossad, Israel’s premier external intelligence agency, according to an unnamed Israeli official quoted in Time. Many in the Mossad see their covert operations, which have allegedly managed to delay Iran’s nuclear program by a full two years, as a preventative measure against the possibility of an all-out Israeli military attack on Iran. Many in the Mossad, including its former Director, Meir Dagan, have blasted Tel Aviv’s threats to launch military strikes against Iran’s nuclear program as “stupid” and “reckless”. Interestingly, the Time magazine article fails to point out an alternative explanation for the alleged reduction in Israeli covert activities in Iran: namely that the Jewish state has decided to roll back its intelligence activities in the country in preparation for an overt military assault.


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