Mossad chief criticizes top Israeli general for issuing threats against Iran

February 1, 2021 - 21:39

TEHRAN – Head of Israel’s spy agency Mossad, Yossi Cohen, has hit back at Chief of Staff of Israel’s Armed Forces Aviv Kohavi who issued a stark threat against Iran last week.

In private conversations, Cohen castigated Kochavi for having come out publicly against the new U.S. administration and argued that the top military general should have waited to see how the new administration approaches the issue, according to The Times of Israel. The spy agency leader further noted that Kochavi’s threats against Iran were “irresponsible” and a mistake and that Kohavi had acted of his own accord.

An unidentified Israeli military source responded to Cohen’s criticism of Kochavi, calling his remarks “a shame.” The source told Israel’s Army Radio that it was a “shame” that there is someone in Israel’s military establishment who “chooses to publicly defame the chief of staff.”

“The chief of staff relayed his position to the Israeli public and is not required to update the head of the Mossad before he speaks,” the source said. “The Iranian issue doesn’t belong to Yossi Cohen and even if there are differences of opinion it is better that they stay behind closed doors.”

Kochavi issued on Tuesday stark threats against Iran and its allies in the region. He said that Israel is not welcoming the expected efforts by the U.S. and its European allies to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He claimed that he had ordered several plans to launch offensive operations against Iran while voicing Israel’s opposition to any efforts to revive the JCPOA or even to improve it.

“I have instructed the IDF to prepare several operational plans in addition to existing ones, which we will develop throughout the coming year. The power to initiate them lies with the political echelon. However, the offensive options need to be prepared, ready and on the table,” Kochavi said in remarks delivered at the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies 14th Annual International Conference.

“I would like to clarify my position regarding the JCPOA: Even if an improved agreement is reached, it will be a bad agreement at the operational and strategic level. Therefore, such an agreement must not be enabled,” he continued.

The remarks did not sit well with Cohen, who is planning a visit to Washington to influence the White House Iran policy. He is preparing to travel to Washington in the second half of February to meet with senior officials in the Biden administration on the 2015 Iran deal which Biden has vowed to rejoin. The Mossad chief is expected to meet with U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, CIA chief William Burns and possibly U.S. President Joe Biden, according to Israeli press reports.

Biden’s promise to rejoin the JCPOA has irked the Israeli regime, though the U.S. has not yet presented any plan to return to the deal in the foreseeable future.   


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