'IDF must be ready if world doesn't stop Iran'

Ashkenazi says Israel will need to invest in upgrading its long-range capabilities in coming years.

ashkenazi 224.88 (photo credit: Channel 1 [file])
ashkenazi 224.88
(photo credit: Channel 1 [file])
The IDF needs to prepare for every option and be ready in case the international community does not succeed in its attempt to stop Iran's race toward nuclear power, Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said Wednesday. "The international community needs to stop Iran," he said at a conference on Israel's future security challenges at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv. "But we in the IDF need to prepare for every option in case this does not succeed." Ashkenazi's remarks were the first time he had addressed the issue publicly since publication of the American National Intelligence Estimate report last week. The NIE said Iran had frozen its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and has yet to restart it. Ashkenazi met with Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen earlier this week. "Iran's race to nuclear power affects the entire Middle East, and the more Iran progresses, the more defiant it becomes in influencing radical groups," Ashkenazi said at the conference. "Iran's development is negative for Israel as well as for world peace." He said the current assessment was that the IDF could face a number of conflicts on different fronts at the same time and needed to prepare for this possibility. In the coming years, Ashkenazi said, Israel would need to deal with "faraway threats" and would need to invest in upgrading its long-range capabilities. "We need to be capable of quickly defeating our enemies in any conflict," he said. "We need to have the ability to fight at the same time in different fronts and at different levels."