Israeli spymaster talks Iran, Syria, Russia and populism in Ottawa meetings

OTTAWA — A top Israeli intelligence official is in Ottawa seeking support for his country’s new allegations that Iran concealed a nuclear weapons program before signing its deal with world powers three years ago.

Chagai Tzuriel, the director general of Israel’s Ministry of Intelligence, is also briefing the government on how Israel views the wider threats posed by Iran in Syria, relations with Russia and the growing problem of how to curtail the fallout from populism.

Tzuriel was to meet officials from Global Affairs Canada and the Privy Council office on Tuesday after a Monday meeting with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Some of his assessment may strike Canadian officials as anathema: he sees co-operation with Russia as essential, and says U.S. President Donald Trump’s hard-nosed foreign policy could curb Iran and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.

“So far his heavy-hand approach — we could call it the Heavy-Hand Doctrine — is yielding right now, more than before,” Tzuriel said in a wide-ranging interview.

The visit to Ottawa was originally intended as a way to learn more about the federal government’s efforts to track and predict emerging trends such as the current populist wave — something Tzuriel said is reshaping intelligence work across the globe.

But the visit has proven especially timely, considering Monday’s televised multimedia presentation by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu was trumpeting Iranian documents obtained by Israeli’s intelligence agency, Mossad, that he said show Iran lied about pursuing nuclear weapons before signing the 2015 deal.

While there was no direct evidence in Netanyahu’s presentation that Iran violated the deal after signing it, it may have given Trump more reason to pull the U.S. of out of the pact as a May 12 deadline approaches.

“I’m certainly hoping that I can convince anyone in the international community — especially the West, especially Canada, which we view as a friend — to support wherever it can, possibly support us on this issue,” Tzuriel said.

Canada is not part of the so-called P5 plus one club — the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany — that negotiated the agreement with Iran to curtail and monitor its nuclear program.

That said, Tzuriel said it is in Israel’s interest to get support from Western countries for either cancelling or strengthening a deal that his government views as flawed and ultimately ineffective in stopping Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Canada supports the deal and last fall gave $1.5 million the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency to support its work in verifying Iran’s compliance, and that support remains unchanged after Netanyahu’s latest pitch.

Just Posted

UPDATED: Lee seeks UCP nomination in Red Deer

Eyes Red Deer-North constituency

Updated Red Deer smoke free bylaw to ban smoking cannabis in public

Smoke Free Bylaw returns to Red Deer city council Sept. 4

Red Deer city council considers new business licence bylaw

All businesses operating in the City of Red Deer will require a… Continue reading

Saskatchewan farmer’s death triggers emotional harvest of love and respect

MILESTONE, Sask. — Volunteers have rallied to harvest the large wheat crop… Continue reading

Councillors want to represent Red Deer at AUMA

City council approves endorsement

Updated Red Deer smoke free bylaw to ban smoking cannabis in public

Smoke Free Bylaw returns to Red Deer city council Sept. 4

Case of truck driver charged in Humboldt Broncos crash adjourned until October

MELFORT, Sask. — The case of a Calgary truck driver charged in… Continue reading

Animal crackers break out of their cages

After more than a century behind bars, the beasts on boxes of… Continue reading

Alligator kills woman trying to protect her dog at resort

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — A woman who often walked her dog… Continue reading

Patients redirected as water leak shuts down Edmonton hospital’s emergency room

EDMONTON — Ambulances are being redirected to other hospitals after a water… Continue reading

Parks Canada moves second bison bull that wandered out of Banff National Park

BANFF — Parks Canada says a second bison bull that wandered out… Continue reading

Lottery for parent sponsorship to be replaced, more applications to be accepted

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is scrapping an unpopular lottery system for… Continue reading

Air Canada-led consortium signs deal to buy Aeroplan program from Aimia

TORONTO — A consortium led by Air Canada has reached a deal… Continue reading

Scheer going to India to ‘repair’ relationship after ‘disastrous’ Trudeau trip

OTTAWA — Six months after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s foreign policy prowess… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month