'Brazen' regime plans to 'expand uranium enrichment program'

Mossad chief says Iranian actions being foiled ‘every day’ across the globe

David Barnea says Tehran ‘expanding’ supply of advanced weapons to Russia, slams ‘absurd’ Western hopes of still reaching a nuclear agreement

President Isaac Herzog (right) and Mossad head David Barnea light the Hanukkiah at the President's House, December 22, 2022. (Haim Tzach/GPO)
President Isaac Herzog (right) and Mossad head David Barnea light the Hanukkiah at the President's House, December 22, 2022. (Haim Tzach/GPO)

Mossad head David Barnea warned in a speech on Thursday that Iran continues to operate against Israel on a daily basis, and asserted that Iran is duping the world over its supply of weapons to Russia.

In an event for Mossad employees held at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, Barnea said Mossad was “still warning about Iran’s future and intentions, which it is trying to keep secret,” adding that Iran was working to “deepen and expand the supply of advanced weapons to Russia.”

Iran has been repeatedly accused of providing Russia with offensive weapons used in its invasion of Ukraine, most notably the Shahed suicide drones used in recent months by the Russian army, though Iran denies this.

Barnea told the gathered Mossad employees: “We are warning about Iran’s intention to expand its uranium enrichment program, and its intention to increase its influence over friendly Muslim countries in the region in various ways.”

He labeled the Iranian regime “brazen,” adding that as “one arm sends Iranian diplomats to Vienna for negotiations, the other arm sends Iranian terrorists to kill innocents across the world, just because they are Israelis or Jews.”

The Mossad chief also took aim at western leaders, who he said were pursuing an “absurd” agreement with Iran. Earlier this year, a nuclear agreement between Western powers and the Iranian regime seemed imminent, before a dispute over suspected undeclared Iranian nuclear sites brought talks to a halt.

Iran’s brutal crackdown on nationwide protests in recent months has made prospects of a deal now seem remote.

“Is this the country that the free world wants to sign any agreement with?” Barnea said. “Our eyes will remain open, we will be doubly alert.”

Natanz, in Iran’s central Isfahan province, hosts the country’s main uranium enrichment facility. (AP)

“I repeat my promise, as I said here last year as well, that Iran will not have nuclear weapons… never. This is my commitment, this is the institution’s commitment.”

Top cybersecurity official Gabi Portnoy also attested to the onslaught of Iranian attacks, telling Kan news that Israel “faces dozens of [cyber] attacks a month from the Iranians.”

Portnoy also addressed the security “failure” that allowed Iranian hackers to access security camera footage of the deadly Jerusalem bus-stop blast last month.

Security agencies “didn’t do the minimum required” in that incident, “but no more should be made of it than already has… It’s a marginal event,” he said.

Barnea used his speech to praise the Iranian protest movement, which began over three months ago after the killing of Mahsa Amini in Tehran.

“The Iranian regime chose to deal with the protests with unrestrained brutality, shooting indiscriminately at women, girls, and even children.

“Hundreds are murdered in the streets, helpless, defenseless… the demonstrators no longer have fear, they have lost their terror,” he said.

The Mossad chief recalled the good relations between Jerusalem and Tehran that existed prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution. “I hope it will still be possible to return to this. Not tomorrow, not in a year. It is impossible to know at the moment, but the seeds of change can even now be seen.”

Barnea spoke at the 13th edition of Mossad’s annual awards night, with 12 Mossad employees recognized for excellence in their various roles at the ceremony.

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