"It is estimated that Iran will have nuclear capability by the middle of the decade, maybe earlier – by 2014," outgoing Mossad chief Meir Dagan told the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday.
Last week Dagan was criticized by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for saying Iran would apparently not manufacture a nuclear bomb by 2015.
On Monday he said, "The Iranian nuclear challenge will stay significant. This or that timetable won't change the fact that Iran is striving to achieve military nuclear capability, and in certain scenarios can shorten the time" it takes to have nuclear weapons.
"It is important for us to learn the lesson of North Korea, which wasn't taken care of properly and didn't get attention from the international community," Dagan said.
The outgoing Mossad chief mentioned other challenges that Israel may face in the future, including the possibility of the establishment of a Palestinian state and its implication on the war against terror.
As for Hezbollah, Dagan said the Shiite group remains a significant threat due to its stockpiles of weapons and its ability to attack highly populated areas of Israel, adding that Israel also have to deal with the threats of global jihad.
The Israeli intelligence community "will need to deal with these challenges, and in my estimation it will do so successfully," he said.
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