Israel ex-top spy reveals Mossad operations against Iran
|bbc.com 11 Jun 2021 at 08:21|
He also hinted at Israeli involvement in the destruction of Iran s nuclear facility at Natanz, and the assassination of a nuclear scientist.
Mr Cohen retired as the head of Mossad last week.
He spoke to journalist Ilan Dayan on Channel 12 s Uvda documentary programme, which was broadcast on Israeli television on Thursday night.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed Mr Cohen as Mossad chief in late 2015. He joined the agency in 1982 after studying at university in London, and told the programme he had had "hundreds" of passports throughout his career.
The most revelatory moments in the interview were about the theft of Iran s nuclear archive.
at a press conference in 2018, which he said proved Iran once covertly tried to make nuclear weapons and had secretly retained the know-how - an allegation Iran denied.
media captionIn 2018, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled what he claimed to be Iran s secret atomic archive
Mr Cohen said in the interview that it took two years to plan the operation. In total 20 Mossad agents were involved on the ground - none of whom were Israeli citizens, the journalist Ilan Dayan said.
All operatives survived the raid and are well, he added, although some had to be extracted from Iran.
Israel has spoken openly about taking those tens of thousands of documents. But Mr Cohen also hinted at Mossad involvement in other operations long rumoured to have been the work of Israeli agents.
Early in the interview Mr Cohen spoke about the Iranian nuclear facility at Natanz.
Iran said that sabotage caused a fire at the uranium enrichment site in July 2020. A day after revealing new equipment in April this year, and had suffered major damage. Iran accused Israel of "nuclear terrorism" over the incident.
image captionNatanz is an uranium enrichment facility about 250km south of the Iranian capital Tehran
Mr Cohen told Ms Dayan that he knew the site well, and that he could take her to the cellar "where the spinning centrifuges are located". He then added: "Those that used to spin. Nowadays, the cellar doesn t look like it used to."
And he also spoke about Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Iran s top nuclear scientist was assassinated on a road outside Tehran last November - an attack Iran publicly blamed on Israel .
The ex-Mossad chief did not confirm or deny involvement in the death. But he said the scientist was a target "for many years", adding that his scientific knowledge concerned the agency.
"If the man constitutes a capability that endangers the citizens of Israel, he must stop existing," he was quoted as saying, but added that someone could be spared "if he is prepared to change profession and not harm us any longer".