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Iran’s goal to pursue nukes hasn’t changed: Dichter

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Avi Dichter

TORONTO — You can include Avi Dichter as among those skeptical about the recently concluded agreement between Iran and the P5+1 nations.

“Although it speaks about rolling back the process [of uranium enhancement], the agreement does not roll back anything,” said Dichter, who served for many years as director of Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency and who left government in March as minister of Home Front Defence.

Contradicting official pronouncements that followed the deal, Dicther said there is nothing in it that speaks about dismantling Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. It merely calls for a temporary halt for six months.

However, in announcing the agreement, U.S. President Barack Obama stated, “For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back.”

As part of the deal, financial sanctions will be relaxed and Iran will be allowed access to $4.2 billion (US) in funds that had been frozen.

Dichter said “everyone in the internal security services knows Iran under [Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei made a strategic decision years ago. And with respect to the president, that spiritual decision hasn’t been changed, not even after the agreement.

“If the strategic decision made by the spiritual leader is not going to be changed, so it’s all a matter of gaining time, The reference we all understand is North Korea.”

North Korea is widely acknowledged as possessing nuclear weapons, even after agreements with the United States that provided it with aid in exchange for agreeing to forgo their development.

Dichter, who also served as Israel’s minister of internal security, was in Toronto recently to promote the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israels. In an interview with The CJN, he said Iran is only about a year away from having the ability to build several nuclear weapons. “They’re already finished their long-range missile system and the warheads.”

Once that happens, the Middle East won’t sit still. He predicted Saudi Arabia and Egypt will try to obtain their own nuclear weapons, likely from Pakistan or North Korea.

“So, blocking Iran is an international goal that should be led by the United States… Once Iran gets the nuclear bomb, the ‘all the options are on the table’ will be irrelevant,” he said.

As to Israel’s capability to stop Iran, Dichter said “Israel has the modus operandi to cause huge damage to Iran’s nuclear infrastructure” and “block construction of the bomb.”

He said Israel would have to co-ordinate any steps it took, mainly with the United States, so that they would be more likely to succeed.

Friends group to aid Holocaust survivors in Israel

Avi Dichter wasn’t retired for long as Israel’s minister of Home Front Defence before he took on a new assignment last April as head of the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel.

Like others of the “second generation”  – children of survivors – he was intimately aware of the perils his parents’ generation had experienced. He had heard their stories, or at least bits and pieces, since many, including his parents and uncle, kept much of it to themselves.

But this much he knew: His parents hailed from Rozisht, a shtetl in the Volyn region of prewar Poland. His father had been recruited into the Polish army and was the only member of his family to survive. He lost his parents, grandparents, brother and many members of his extended family.

To read complete story, please see December 19, 2013 print issue

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