meir dagan reading 298.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Iran will attain offensive nuclear capabilities within three years and remains the central strategic threat to Israel, not only because it is striving for the attainment of nuclear weapons but also because of its influence on more imminent threats - such as Hamas, Hizbullah and Syria - according to an assessment presented to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee by Mossad head Meir Dagan Monday.
Iran is acting on two tracks, Dagan said, one towards the enrichment of uranium and the other towards manufacturing surface to surface missiles with large payloads. He claimed that Iran had not yet attained full control of the knowledge necessary to produce weapons-grade uranium, but was not far from reaching that benchmark point.
Iran, he said, was upgrading its relationship with Syria, especially with regards to the transfer of information, and was supplying the Palestinians with weapons, technology and training, especially in the Gaza Strip. He claimed that Iranian assistance would improve the range of the projectiles that the Palestinians could fire into Israel.
According to the Mossad chief, Syria and Hizbullah had studied the lessons of the Second Lebanon War and come to the conclusion that they cannot overpower Israel and contend with its far superior firepower. Therefore, he said, they were investing their energies in developing missiles to target the home front, which they had recognized as Israel's weak point.
Rockets and missiles are a more substantial threat than they were in the past," Dagan said. "Syria is upgrading its arsenal of surface to surface missiles, and the number of missiles and rockets it possesses today is twice the amount it had only two years ago."
According to Dagan, the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) made it harder to impose sanctions on Iran. It "pulls the rug out from under" diplomatic efforts to thwart the Iranian nuclear program, "leaving Israel to face the threat alone," he said.
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