Iran is a threat to the entire Middle East and the free world and all deterrence measures should be considered, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said Wednesday night. During a meeting with US Senator Daniel Inouye, Chairman of the US Subcommittee on Defense, Ashekenazi said that the continuing development of Iranian nuclear capabilities and its long-range missile technology is Israel and the region's principal and most potent threats. The chief of staff stressed the fact that Iran provides sponsorship, guidance, weapons and funding for terrorist organizations led by Hizbullah and Hamas. Ashekenazi noted the increase in Hizbullah's advanced weapons arsenal with significant assistance from Iran and Syria. Inouye acquiesced with the chief of staff's assessments, adding, "I think that when the US helps Israel it actually helps itself". The chief of staff presented Inouye with a Special Merit Certificate on behalf of the IDF, its commanders and soldiers, in appreciation for the senator's personal support and contribution to Israel's security. The meeting was also attended by US Ambassador to Israel Richard Jones, as well as Inouye's associates.