Tags: Israel | iran | threat

Israeli Official: Iran Threat to World

By Newsmax Staff   |   Monday, 17 Dec 2007 08:38 AM

The world fails to fully comprehend the gravity of Iran’s nuclear threat — and that failure could result in a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic, a top Israeli official declared.

The warning from Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz, the Israeli Defense Force’s incoming military attaché to the U.S., was the first public comment on Iran by a senior member of the IDF General Staff following the release by the U.S. of the National Intelligence Estimate report, which claimed that Iran ceased its nuclear weapons program four years ago.

Gantz told the Jerusalem Post that the world “understands” that Iran is a problem, “but I am not sure it understands the severity of the problem and its urgency.”

He said Iran was a threat not just to Israel, but to the entire world.

Gantz said he did not want to dispute the NIE report, but cautioned that misinterpreting Iran’s intentions regarding its nuclear program could allow Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons, and only then would the world “take action.”

Gants added that despite the report’s findings, Iran could still be in the process of developing nuclear weapons, the Post reported.

“In a large country like Iran, in a culture like Iran, the ability to do things covertly is not something that seems so far-fetched, and I would not stop tracking this situation in the broadest way possible, since this is an international and not just an Israeli interest.”

Avi Dichter, Israel's public security minister, warned on Saturday that the NIE report could lead to a regional war that would threaten the Jewish state.

He also said the NIE’s assessment cast doubt on American intelligence in general, including information about Palestinian security forces' crackdown on militant groups.

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called for his ministers to refrain from discussing the NIE report, warning that “utmost caution” must be used in dealing with the Iranian issue.

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