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Ashkenazi: Hezbollah armed and ready Photo: Yaron Brener
Ashkenazi: Hezbollah armed and ready Photo: Yaron Brener

IDF chief: Iran rational, pressure can work

Army commander tells Knesset committee Iran 'very radical but not an irrational country; change in policy, efficient pressure could make difference'. Also warns Hezbollah has 325 km range missiles

Attila Somfalvi
Published: 11.10.09, 12:20 / Israel News

IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday that "Iran is very radical on one hand, but on the other hand you can't say that it is an irrational country".


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"Alterations in policy towards Iran by the international community as well as efficient pressure could bring change within Iran," the army chief added.


He also warned that Hezbollah is currently armed with thousands of missiles, some of which could reach the southern city of Dimona.


"Some of them have a range of 300 km and some of them have a range of up to 325 km," Ashkenazi said, adding that the missiles were ready for use.


"There is a paradox – one hand there is calm, but when you peek over the fence you can see armament and empowerment. If Hezbollah carries out a retaliatory attack for(Imad) Mugniyah it will force Israel to respond and this will lead to deterioration," he said.


"There is a battle for the Middle East between the radicals and the moderates. This pushes Iran to radical moves and the funding of terror. If we begin to see international determination that displays before the
Iranians a heavy price with intent to collect, it's not totally illogical that they will change direction," Ashkenazi added, citing the freezing of Iran's nuclear program in 2003.


The committee also discussed Tuesday the findings of IDF investigations on Operation Cast Lead, as well as the arming of Hezbollah in Lebanon.


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