Ex-Mossad chief signals Israel attacked Iran nuclear assets

FILE - In this July 3, 2016, file photo, Yossi Cohen, then the director of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, attends the funeral in Jerusalem of a rabbi killed by Palestinian gunmen. Cohen, the outgoing chief of Israel's Mossad intelligence service, offered the closest acknowledgment yet his country was behind a series of recent attacks targeting Iran's nuclear program and a military scientist in a television interview aired Thursday, June 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty, File)
FILE - In this July 3, 2016, file photo, Yossi Cohen, then the director of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency, attends the funeral in Jerusalem of a rabbi killed by Palestinian gunmen. Cohen, the outgoing chief of Israel's Mossad intelligence service, offered the closest acknowledgment yet his country was behind a series of recent attacks targeting Iran's nuclear program and a military scientist in a television interview aired Thursday, June 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty, File) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

DUBAI – The outgoing chief of Israel's Mossad intelligence service has offered the closest acknowledgment yet his country was behind recent attacks targeting Iran's nuclear program and a military scientist.

The comments by Yossi Cohen, speaking to Israel's Channel 12 investigative program “Uvda” in a segment aired Thursday night, offered an extraordinary debriefing by the head of the typically secretive agency in what appears to be the final days of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's rule.

It also gave a clear warning to other scientists in Iran's nuclear program that they too could become targets for assassination even as diplomats in Vienna try to negotiate terms to try to salvage its atomic accord with world powers.

“If the scientist is willing to change career and will not hurt us anymore, than yes, sometimes we offer them" a way out, Cohen said.

Among the major attacks to target Iran, none have struck deeper than two explosions over the last year at its Natanz nuclear facility. There, centrifuges enrich uranium from an underground hall designed to protect them from airstrikes.

In July 2020, a mysterious explosion tore apart Natanz's advanced centrifuge assembly, which Iran later blamed on Israel. Then in April of this year, another blast tore apart one of its underground enrichment halls.

Discussing Natanz, the interviewer asked Cohen where he'd take them if they could travel there. Cohen said “to the cellar" where “the centrifuges used to spin.”

“It doesn't look like it used to look,” he added.