Israel Launches Covert War to Disrupt Iran’s Nuke Program


iran-nukes-3Israel has launched a covert war in an effort to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program, the British Daily Telegraph has quoted US intelligence sources as saying. According to the article published today, sabotage, front companies and double agents, as well as the assassination of top figures involved in Iran’s atomic operations, were being used to interrupt the program. “Disruption is designed to slow progress on the program, done in such a way that they don’t realize what’s happening. You are never going to stop it,” a former CIA officer on Iran told the Telegraph. “The goal is delay, delay, delay until you can come up with some other solution or approach. We certainly don’t want the current Iranian government to have those weapons.”It’s a good policy, short of taking them out militarily, which probably carries unacceptable risks.”

The newspaper quoted Reva Bhalla, a senior analyst with Stratfor, a US private intelligence company with strong government security connections, as saying that the strategy was to assassinate key figures.

“With cooperation from the United States, Israeli covert operations have focused both on eliminating key human assets involved in the nuclear program and in sabotaging the Iranian nuclear supply chain,” she said. “As US-Israeli relations are bound to come under strain over the Obama administration’s outreach to Iran, and as the political atmosphere grows in complexity, an intensification of Israeli covert activity against Iran is likely to result.”

The paper went on to cite a rumor that the Mossad was responsible for the death of Ardeshire Hassanpour, a top nuclear scientist at Iran’s Isfahan uranium plant, who reportedly died from gas poisoning in 2007. It also mentioned other recent deaths of figures connected to Iran’s nuclear program that have reportedly been the result of Israeli hits.

“Israel has shown no hesitation in assassinating weapons scientists for hostile regimes in the past,” the paper quoted an anonymous European intelligence official as saying. “They did it with Iraq and they will do it with Iran when they can.”

The former CIA operative also revealed to the Telegraph how Israeli and US intelligence cooperated with European companies working in Iran to obtain photographs and other confidential material about Iranian nuclear and missile sites.

“It was a real company that operated from time to time in Iran and in the nature of their legitimate business came across information on various suspect Iranian facilities,” he said.

Israel has also apparently used front companies to infiltrate the purchasing network that the Islamic Republic uses to get around United Nations sanctions and obtain so-called “dual use” items – metals, valves, electronics and machinery – for its nuclear program. According to the report, the businesses first supply legitimate material, winning Teheran’s trust, before delivering faulty or defective items that sabotage the country’s atomic activities.

Mossad and Western intelligence operations have also infiltrated the Iranian nuclear program, “bought” information from prominent atomic scientists and leaked details to its allies, the media and United Nations atomic agency inspectors, the paper went on to say.

On one occasion, said the report, Iran destroyed a nuclear facility near Teheran after its existence was revealed to UN inspectors, fearing overwhelming UN pressure for tougher action.

The report also claimed that Iran had become so concerned about penetration of its program that it has announced arrests of alleged spies in a bid to discourage double agents.

Former CIA counter-terrorism chief Vince Canastraro, however, doubted the effectiveness of the alleged covert operations. “You cannot carry out foreign policy objectives via covert operations,” he said. “You can’t get rid of a couple of people and hope to affect Iran’s nuclear capability.”

{The Telegraph/JPost/Yair Israel}