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Israeli chief of staff warns on Iran nukes

May 26, 2009 at 10:45 AM   |   Comments

JERUSALEM, May 26 (UPI) -- Israeli military chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi says a nuclear-armed Iran could "destabilize the entire Middle East."

Speaking Tuesday before the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Ashkenazi also warned U.S. efforts to dissuade Iran from building nuclear weapons probably won't be successful, Ynetnews reported.

"Iran continues with its plans," Ashkenazi told the panel. "The existence of nuclear weapons in Iran's hands could destabilize the entire Middle East. The dialogue between the U.S. and Iran is unlikely to succeed, but this is the preferred course for us, too. However, it is my job as army chief to prepare all the options, and that is what we're doing."

The chief of staff also spoke of concerns over the upcoming elections in Lebanon, with the Shiite militant group Hezbollah is poised to gain more seats in the government, Ynetnews reported.

"There is a battle for the future of Lebanon, and also a fear that the country will fall into the hands of the radical axis," he said.

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