Calling Teheran's race to obtain nuclear weapons an existential threat, Deputy Chief of General Staff Maj.-Gen. Moshe Kaplinsky said Friday that a nuclear Iran also threatens all of Europe.
"A nuclear Iran is a threat to Israel but can also effect the entire Middle East," Kaplinsky said during a meeting near Jerusalem. "A nuclear Iran will pose a threat way beyond Israel's borders, possibly even a threat to all of Europe."
Security and Defense: The strong winds of war Editor's Notes: Iran the vulnerable? (column)
"There is disagreement as to when their program will be operational, but we predict that Iran will achieve [nuclear weapons] capability in the near future," he said.
Kaplinsky also said Iran recently received a shipment of anti-aircraft missiles from Russia and was holding contacts with China regarding additional arms deals.
Discussing the Baker-Hamilton report, Kaplinsky said, "In my opinion, the strategy used and the way the United States decides to pull out of Iraq will have an effect on us and the entire region."
Also on Friday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin about Iran's nuclear program and told Putin that he hoped the UN Security Council would vote to impose sanctions if Iran continued to flout the international community's demands that it stop its nuclear development, Army Radio reported.
The Jerusalem Post revealed earlier this week that long-range missiles and truckloads of advanced antitank missiles from Iran and Syria have been smuggled to Hizbullah in Lebanon over the past four months.
While the IDF destroyed most of Hizbullah's long-range missiles during the 34-day war in Lebanon this summer, including the Iranian-made Fajr and Zelzal, according to new intelligence obtained by the defense establishment, in the four months since the war ended, weapons convoys carrying short-range missiles, antitank missiles and long-range missiles have reached Hizbullah. Most of the convoys crossed into Lebanon from Syria at night.
Military Intelligence believes Hizbullah might use the Lebanese political instability as an excuse to launch attacks against Israel, not necessarily by renewing Katyusha rocket attacks - 4,000 rockets were fired at Israel during the war - but by firing antiaircraft missiles at intelligence-gathering aircraft that fly over Lebanon.