Ze'evi: US-Iran diplomatic process 'stuck in the mud'

Even as diplomatic pressure has slowed the Iranian nuclear program by as much as two years, Iran is determined to continue its attempts to develop a nuclear bomb, warned OC Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aharon Ze'evi (Farkash) on Tuesday. Iran has recently acquired 12 cruise missiles with a range of up to 3,000 kilometers, and the ability to carry a nuclear warhead, he said. Speaking at the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee for the last time before leaving his position, Ze'evi noted the missiles originated in a batch of 18 missiles shipped from Ukraine to Russia. Twelve of the missiles made their way to Iran, while the other six ended up in China. He warned that Iran posed a substantial threat to Israel's security, and that the United States was "stuck in the mud" in dealing with the situation. Ze'evi also mentioned that Palestinian terrorist groups were still managing to smuggle weapons, such as anti-tank and aircraft missiles across the Egyptian border, although not to the same degree as they had previously. "The army must prepare for the possibility that armed groups are trying to smuggle such weapons into Gaza," Ze'evi said. "These efforts are carried out despite the efforts of the Palestinian and Egyptian security to prevent the smuggling of arms." The outgoing intelligence officer also warned of an imminent escalation along the Israeli-Lebanese border, including launching of rockets into Israel. He said that the cooperation between Syria and Hizbullah was meant to ensure a continued state of instability.