JERUSALEM, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- An attack by Israel on Iran's nuclear sites would be premature and wouldn't have international legitimacy, a retired Israeli military intelligence chief said.
Retired Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze'evi Farkash said an Israeli attack against Iran's nuclear facilities could take place soon, but current military leaders likely wouldn't want to launch such a campaign before the U.S. presidential elections Nov. 6, The Jerusalem Post first reported Friday.
"I think that within this window it is difficult to imagine that something will happen a month before elections," said Farkash, a 40-year veteran of Israel's military intelligence service.
Moving now against Iranian nuclear facilities to retard the Islamic republic's development of nuclear weapons, even if successful, "will ruin the legitimacy that is needed," he said. He suggested Israel wait six to eight months or even until spring 2013 because a strike would require Israel to have diplomatic support.
Haaretz reported that assessments indicate an Israeli strike would delay Iran's nuclear program by two years.
"An attack is not a single strike and once it happens we are in a whole other world," Farkash told the Post. "Iran will pull out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei and [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad will reunite and it will be clear that they need a bomb now so that we cannot attack them again."
"Israel needs to know if it can, over time, ensure that the attack is maintained," he said. "This is the key to success or failure."
Other reasons Farkash listed as reasons for delaying include a possible attack to curb the proliferation of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal, a growing terrorist threat in the Sinai Peninsula and an operation in Gaza to stop rocket attacks, the Post said.
Farkash said he understand Israeli leaders' concern that Israel would be alone in dealing with the Iranian threat. He also praised the current government for its success in turning Iran into a global issue.
Farkash said the sanctions have not had the desired effect, as demonstrated by Iran's continued enrichment of uranium and the failure of the last three rounds of talks on the nuclear program Iran maintains is for peaceful purposes.