But on the same day as his CBS interview, Netanyahu indicated to TV reporters in Israel that an Israeli strike is still very much an option in his mind. While he prefers a diplomatic solution, he said, the time frame for an Israeli strike on Iran is “not a matter of days or weeks, but also not of years,” Haaretz reports. “The result must be a removal of the threat of nuclear weapons in Iran’s heads,” he said.
According to a separate Haaretz report, Dagan made clear in his interview that he thought there is time to pursue options other than a strike, including encouraging regime change in Iran. He also said that he trusted the Obama administration to choose the right strategy for handling Iran, even as Republican presidential candidates and legislators painted President Obama as weak for not being willing to advocate for a strike.
Mr. Obama said “the military option is on the table and he is not going to let Iran become a nuclear state and from my experience, I usually trust the president of the US,” Dagan said. (The Christian Science Monitor this week looked at why Netanyahu does not have the same trust in Obama’s strategy.)
Dagan also broke ranks with Netanyahu on Iran’s calculations. The prime minister has often painted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and the rest of the Iranian leadership as unpredictable, irrational actors. But in his CBS interview, Dagan said the Iranian regime is “a very rational regime. … maybe not exactly rational based on what I call Western thinking, but no doubt they are considering all the implications of their actions.”