TEL AVIV, Israel, April 23 (UPI) -- It is doubtful Iran will abandon its nuclear program and reach a pact with the international community, the head of Israel's army intelligence research said.
"Iran is under enormous and unprecedented pressure. It is moving forward in its uranium enrichment but not in other areas in the nuclear program. It unlikely it will reach a deal with the international community and abandon plans for a nuclear weapon in the coming year," Ynetnews.com quoted Brig. Gen. Itai Baron, head of the Israeli military intelligence research directorate, as saying Tuesday at the annual conference of Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies.
"Iran must be pressured on its nuclear program and global terrorist activities. The focus of our activities in the coming future, and in general, will be Iran," Israel's military chief, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, said Monday at the conference.
"Iran is striving for regional hegemony. In all of the places it is involved, the implications of its capabilities are far wider than something local or regional," The Jerusalem Post quoted Gantz as saying.
Gantz noted the growing instability in Syria. Iran and Hezbollah are "involved up to their neck" in efforts to safeguard the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, he said.
He also described Russia's support for the Syrian leader as "strange."
Addressing concerns that strategic weapons may fall into the hands of extremists, Gantz said: "We're not waiting for this future to arrive. We've been preparing for it operationally for over a year, throughout the whole of the Golan Heights."