An Israeli military strike has been granted increased legitimacy due to the events of the past week, former minister Tzachi Hanegbi said Saturday at a cultural event in Kiryat Motzkin.

Putting a positive spin on what can be considered Iranian diplomatic victories in the past week - the country's successful hosting of the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran and its continued expansion of an illicit nuclear program as detailed by a new IAEA report - Hanegbi said that the possibility of a military strike could actually have been strengthened.

Hanegbi, who formerly headed the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, also referenced comments made earlier this week by Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey, who called into question Israel's ability to inflict severe and lasting damage on Iran's nuclear facilities through an IDF strike. Dempsey said an attack would "clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran's nuclear program," but added that the "international coalition" pressuring Iran "could be undone if it was attacked prematurely."

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"A credible threat, the most credible threat, is an American threat," Hanegbi said. "The American threat is one that is abstract, and it doesn't necessarily translate to any promise for concrete action, and that might be why the Iranian's are disdaining and ignoring it."

Hanegbi continued: "In my opinion, the Israeli military threat is not an empty one."

Last month, Hanegbi warned there is no certainty that intelligence agencies will discover Iranian nuclear advancements in time in response to a comment by White House spokesman Jay Carney, who said the US would be able to intervene in time on the nuclear issue.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently got into a diplomatic shouting match with US Ambassador Dan Shapiro over US President Barack Obama's handling of Iran's nuclear program, saying "time has run out" for diplomacy, Yediot Aharonot cited a source as saying on Friday.

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