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Cablegate: Mossad Director Meir Dagan Tells Codel Lieberman

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

"S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 TEL AVIV 002855


E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/03/2015

Classified By: Ambassador Daniel C. Kurtzer for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) Summary: In his meeting with CODEL Lieberman on May 2,
Meir Dagan, Director of Mossad, laid out steps that he said
the United States should take to block Iran's efforts at
acquiring and producing nuclear weapons. Dagan also
presented his assessments of Iran's support for Hizballah and
Palestinian terrorist organizations and the political
position of Palestinian President Abbas, as well as the
current situation in, and future of, Iraq. The delegation,
consisting of Senator Joseph Lieberman and staff aide Fred
Downey, was accompanied by the Ambassador and emboffs. End

How to Thwart Iran's Nuclear Ambitions

2. (C) Dagan stated that Iran has three reasons for pursuing
nuclear weaponry. The first is to secure the position of the
current Iranian regime. He said that Iran has drawn a bad
lesson from the experiences of North Korea, and it now
believes that if it can create nuclear weapons, the rest of
the world will have no choice but to leave Iran alone.
Second, the Iranian regime also hopes that a nuclear
capability would change the country's position in the Middle
East, leaving it able to force its will upon neighboring
countries. The third reason Dagan elaborated is what he
termed the ""Israel equation."" Iran believes that Israel has
nuclear weapons, and thus Iran must go nuclear as a balancing
force in the region.

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3. (S) In Dagan's estimation, the world has reached a
critical point in relations with Iran. Iran is now close to
solving the technological problems regarding aspects of the
nuclear fuel cycle. From the point that those problems are
solved, it is just a matter of time before Iran will acquire
a nuclear bomb. At the same time that the regime is working
to create enriched uranium, it is also attempting to create
the delivery mechanism for such fissile material, and may
already have such weapon systems. The one weakness Dagan saw
in Iran's nuclear ambitions is that its projects to create
centrifuges are centralized.

4. (C) At this point, Dagan said, the world must stop Iran
from creating enriched uranium. He laid out several steps
that the United States can take to this end. Dagan said that
the first and most important step is bringing the Iranian
nuclear issue to the United Nations Security Council as soon
as possible, and preventing what he characterized as a flood
of technology into Iran. Iranian nuclear scientists must not
be allowed to participate in conferences with European or
American scientists. Second, a system of sanctions must be
created to put economic pressure on Iran. Dagan said that
Iran's dependence on oil imports due to its lack of refinery
capacity is one factor that can be taken into account when
considering sanctions.

5. (C) Sanctions against Iran would also, Dagan said, create
pressure on Iranian opposition groups to act against the
regime. The United States must encourage different groups to
become more serious in their efforts to undermine the regime,
Dagan said, citing the Solidarity movement in Poland of the
1980s as an example of such opposition pressure helping to
bring down a regime. Dagan said that a large portion of
Iranians is pro-American, especially in the cities, which
account for 40 percent of the country's population.

Iran and the Palestinians

6. (S) Even without a nuclear capability, Iran currently
poses a threat to the stability of the Middle East through
its support of terrorist organizations, Dagan asserted.
According to Dagan, Iran has supported terrorist action
against Israel through Hizballah and encouraged recruitment,
both directly and indirectly, through organizations such as
Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. Two specific branches of Hizballah,
Dagan said, gather intelligence and launch terror activities.
Iranians, themselves, are directly attempting to recruit
Arab-Israelis, while at the same time encouraging Hizballah
to recruit members of Fatah and other groups. Dagan said
that Palestinian Islamic Jihad has been receiving money from
Iran based on the number of terror attacks that it carries
out. Dagan warned that Iran has also grown closer to Hamas.
He said that Iran supports Hamas partly out of ideological,
anti-Israel views, and partly in an attempt to curb Israel,s
influence and to expand its own influence in the Middle East.

Hamas and the Future of President Abbas

7. (C) Dagan emphasized that, while some kind of ceasefire
is now in effect and terrorist attacks against Israel have
indeed declined drastically, the number of terrorist warnings
and ""events"" are still very high. He blamed Palestinian
President Abbas for being ineffective against Hamas, thus
allowing Hamas to use the current lull to reorganize. Dagan
said that Hamas agreed to the ceasefire for ""tactical""
reasons only, mainly because it wanted to concentrate in the
coming months on enhancing its political power through the
upcoming Palestinian elections. In addition, Dagan claimed
that the IDF's success in damaging Hamas's capability and
leadership has also caused the group to retrench. He
contended that it is only a matter of time until the
Palestinian groups abandon the ceasefire.

8. (C) President Abbas's support among the Palestinian
people, Dagan said, comes from popular frustration with the
continuing struggle with Israel, Israel's rejection of talks
with the old Palestinian leadership, and corruption within
the Palestinian Authority (PA). Dagan predicted, however,
that Abbas would lose this support because Abbas, despite
some actions, is incapable of effecting real reform. One
barrier to reform that Dagan cited was what he claimed is the
fact that Abbas has only two true allies in the PA, Finance
Minister Salam Fayyad and Civil Affairs Minister Muhammad
Dahlan. He described these men, however, as neither honest
enough to gain popular support nor strong enough to exert
authority. He said he could identify no Palestinian leaders
who meet both these requirements.

The Future of Iraq

9. (S) The subject of Iran again came up in Dagan's
assessment of the situation in Iraq. Iran has played a
negative role in Iraq because it hopes to see the state
dominated by Shia, he said, who would in turn be dominated by
Iran. Dagan said that Iran is encouraging Iraqi groups close
to the regime's ideology, such as radical Shia groups that
are participating in the new political structure of Iraq.
Iran feels besieged by the American presence in neighboring
Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan and has, he charged, allowed
Al Qaeda members to take harbor in or transit through Iran.

10. (C) Dagan characterized his view of Iraq as optimistic
based on the economic growth, and improved services and
living conditions, in the country. He conditioned his
optimism on the new government's ability to recruit the
support of different factions, such as the Kurds and Sunni,
and to fight effectively against terrorist elements such as
Zarqawi. Through terrorist actions against Iraqis, he said,
Zarqawi's forces have tried to discourage people from
participating in the system and have attempted to create a
rift between Shia and Sunni groups.

11. (U) CODEL Lieberman did not clear this cable.

********************************************* ********************
Visit Embassy Tel Aviv's Classified Website:

You can also access this site through the State Department's
Classified SIPRNET website.
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