The threat to Israel

"Iranians don't hate Israel," says Sabina Amidi, just back from a few weeks' reporting from the Islamic republic, and "plenty of them are uncomfortable with [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad's relentless denunciation of the Jewish state as godless and his calculated incitement to wipe it out. "People may not be happy with Israel's treatment of the Palestinians," she notes, "but they also think it's not their fight. They say things like, 'Israel has never attacked us. What, directly have they done to us?'" In the context of Iran's nuclear drive, Amidi also stresses that Iran has no record of invading or initiating attacks on another country. "It was Iraq that attacked Iran in the 1980s" - on September 22, 1980, to be precise. "And in my opinion, Iran would not initiate an attack on Israel." But, Amidi goes on - and it's an immensely significant "but" - this Iranian regime emphatically does have a record of supplying its advanced technologies to third parties, notably including Hamas and Hizbullah. "It's not Iran pressing the button, it's Iran supplying a nonconventional weapons capability to a non-state actor," she says with a sigh. "From an Israeli point of view, that's what I'd be worried about."