Jerusalem, Oct. 22 (Xinhua): Former head of the Israeli Mossad Efraim Halevy called on the West to open a dialogue with Iran, following the weekend's report of direct talks between the U. S. and Iran.
"I realized that dialogue with the enemy is essential, there is nothing to lose," Halevy said during a Sunday evening talk with a U.S. website, Al monitor.
"The claim is that if you talk with them you legitimize them. However, by not talking with them you don't delegitimize them," Halevy added.
He added that engaging in direct talks does not mean removing the sanctions just yet.
"The goal of the sanctions is not to lay the groundwork for military action but to convince the Iranian leadership to abandon its nuclear program," Halevy said.
Halevy, who spoke in the past against a military action against Iran, also criticized the foreign policy views on that subject by the American Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney.
Over the weekend, the New York Times reported that the U.S. and Iran have agreed to embark on direct talks after the November 6 elections.
In an additional interview Monday morning with Israel radio, Halevy said that Romney leaves no room for negotiations with Iran, but only leaves the military action as the only choice.
At the same time, Halevy praised U.S. President Barack Obama for handling the Iranian situation, specifically commanding the sanctions that have led to a severe economic crisis in Teheran. "The goal of economic sanctions is to convince Iranian leaders to abandon their nuclear drive, not to prepare the ground for a military strike," Halevy told the radio on Monday.
On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister denied any knowledge of any sort of agreement in principle for direct talks between the two nations.
"I have no information about such contacts and I cannot say whether there is truth to that report. I can say though that Iran has used negotiations before to buy time with America," he added.
However, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon told Israel Radio that Jerusalem has known for some time there are behind-the- scenes contact between U.S. and Iran, and that it has no objections.
In the past several months, Israeli leaders have publicly discussed the option of a military strike against Iran if it does not stop with its nuclear program, which it claims is for peaceful purposes.
While Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak frequently talked about the possibility of such an attack, several Israeli defense and security officials objected to such an attack. (Xinhua-ANI)