Top IDF Intel officer: Iran could have nuclear weapons by 2009
(The Jerusalem Post) Iran could have nuclear weapons by 2009, the Head of Military Intelligence’s Research Division, Brig. -Gen. Yossi Baidatz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Tuesday.
“Iran’s conservative sect is gaining power. The Iranian regime is faced with internal issues, but there is no threat to its existence or stability. Assuming it faces no difficulties, the worst case scenario is Iran obtaining nuclear arms by 2009.”
On the Lebanese front, Baidatz said Hizbullah was learning how to cope with UNIFIL forces, and was gaining strength.
Hizbullah recently held a large-scale exercise south of the Litani River that included thousands of gunmen, under the personal supervision of the organization’s leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.
Baidatz said that the reason for the exercise was twofold. “Firstly, to show it is not intimidated by IDF exercises and secondly, to display its power as an internal message to Lebanon.”
Baidatz also mentioned Syrian developments. “There is still tension with Syria, but there has been a decline in its level in recent weeks. Syria continues to strengthen its firepower. It is equipping its forces with Russian anti-aircraft weaponry and is preparing to receive Russian air defense systems.”
He added that Syria was continuing its cooperation with Hizbullah and that weapons from Iran were still being deployed across Lebanon, including the area south of the Litani River.
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