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IDF Chief Of Staff Halutz: 'When It Comes To Iranian Nuclear Threat, Israel Is Prepared For Worst Case Scenario'

'President Ahmadinejads Threat To Wipe Israel Off The Map Must Be Taken Seriously'

'A Nuclear Armed Iran Would Pose Threat To Israel's Existence'

Dan Halutz

Might Iran press the button on Israel if it acquires nuclear weapons? This was one of the questions put to Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz the commander of the Israel Defense Forces. In an interview with the Yediot Ahronot newspaper, the Chief of Staff discussed various aspects of the Iranian nuclear threat.

:: IsraCast Audio ::

'If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, the possibility exists that it will push the button- thats the assessment of General Dan Halutz, Israels top military commander. Halutz warned that Israel must take the worst-case scenario into account. President Ahmadinejad meant what he said about wiping the Jewish state off the map. The IDF Chief of Staff revealed that someone who knows the Iranian scene well has told him that Ahmadinejad is bothsmart and sane and not crazy as some think. But was there any logic in the Iranian leaders ranting about Israel? The General replied that Ahmadinejads repeated threats are driven by his agenda. He was a religious Muslim motivated by a pan-Islamic outlook. Although, the Iranian leader had even denied the Holocaust he should not be viewed as a crackpot.

Question: Now that Iran has rejected the U.N. resolution calling for a halt to its uranium enrichment, what was the implication for Israel?

Halutz said Israel had anticipated this Iranian response. The Iranians see no reason not to continue with their nuclear program after overcoming a number of obstacles. From a military standpoint there was no change. The latest Iranian rejection would not influence the international effort to use force; it would apparently turn now to sanctions on Iran. However, it was impossible to ascertain what impact this would have although the Iranians were sensitive to sanctions. But Israelis should not the ones to explain everything to the Iranians as Halutz put it. And he added: Im not one of those worried Israelis who think we should be leading the pack. If we have any ideas we should discuss them behind closed doors and thats where we consider this issue. And the IDF commander added: My assessment is the Iranians are very leery of us because they know we can hit them.

Question: Do you take into account that in another year or so, the Iranian President might suddenly declare that he has bought or stolen a nuclear weapon, ready for use?

Halutz replied that there was no contingency that Israel had not considered. In his words: Israel was prepared for what was needed at any time. But he added that most of the answers to resolve the Iranian file were of a global nature. Interviewed on Israel Radio, General Halutz said bluntly: Nuclear weapons in Iranian hands would pose a threat to Israels existence.

David Essing

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