Dagan said that he thought the United States should attack if it’s needed, warning that an Israeli strike would ignite a regional war.
He also called the Iranians “rational,” a line that U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey also used last month, which led to some criticism from Republicans.
Dagan last year said that an Israeli strike against Iran was “the stupidest idea,” comments that clashed with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Dagan’s “60 Minutes” interview comes the weekend after Netanyahu traveled to Washington to meet with President Obama. Netanyahu told the pro-Israel Jewish lobby AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, that time was running short for Israel to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
President Obama urged Netanyahu to hold off on an attack, pushing for time to let sanctions against Iran take effect. Republicans criticized Obama at AIPAC for showing a divide between the two countries and for not taking a stronger line on Iran.
Dagan has been said to be behind the attacks on Iran’s nuclear scientists, as well as the cyberattacks that malfunctioned Iran’s nuclear facilities. He said that there is time to wait — as long as three years — before an attack would be necessary.
He warned that an Israeli strike on Iran would lead to retaliation, and would only delay — not stop — Iran’s nuclear program. He said there are estimates that Iran could retaliate with as many as 50,000 missiles toward Israel.
“It will be a devastating impact on our ability to continue with our daily life. I think that Israel will be in a very serious situation for quite a time,” Dagan said.
“We are going to ignite, at least from my point of view, a regional war,” he said. “And wars, you know how they start. You never know how you are ending it.”