TEL AVIV, Israel, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Israeli analysts fear North Korea's nuclear test will encourage Iran to go ahead with its program and move other Arabs states to seek a nuclear capability.
Former minister Dan Meridor, who headed a recent high ranking top secret committee on Israel's defense doctrine, said the North Korean test demonstrates the weakening of the non-proliferation regime.
Israel is far from Korea but North Korea has helped Iran develop a missile capability and has offered help to Syria, Meridor noted.
He was concerned Iran will conclude it is possible to develop a bomb despite world pressure. He told Channel 1 TV he feared other Arab countries would then seek a nuclear capability to prevent a Muslim-Shiite hegemony.
The official Israeli reaction was muted partly because Israel does not want to appear to be at the forefront of the campaign to check Iran. An official statement condemned the test, but maintained it is an international issue.
Speaking to United Press International on condition of anonymity, a senior Israeli government official said the North's successful test in the face of heavy sanctions shows a strong joint international effort is needed to stop Iran from obtaining a bomb.
The North Koreans proved "you have to be very effective" in carrying out sanctions, the official said.
The North Koreans produced their device despite deep poverty there, while Iran has a strong economy. Nevertheless the Israeli official suggested economic sanctions might work.
Iran has been part of world trade, has a substantial economy and middle class so it is more susceptible to international economic sanctions, the official argued.
Former Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh, now a prominent member of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, noted Iran exports crude oil but must import refined oil so a severe international embargo could be effective.