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Israeli minister: nuclear Iran poses "largest" threat to Israel


08:21, May 22, 2013

JERUSALEM, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Minister of Strategic and Intelligence Affairs, Yuval Steinitz, said on Monday that the most critical issue threatening Israel's security is a nuclear Iran.

Steinitz made the comments in a speech given at an international security conference called the C5I (Command and Control, Computers, Communications, Cyber and Intelligence), which is aimed at sharing knowledge and ideas on acquisition and operation of modern defense capabilities.

"Events and the situation in Syria, Sinai and the Gaza Strip must not displace the most critical issue, which is nuclear Iran," Steinitz said, according to a statement released by the Government 's Press Office (GPO).

"The Iranian nuclear project changes the situation for the state of Israel, the Middle East and the entire world," the minister added.

He also said that a nuclear Iran's nuclear industry is more developed, and consists of a greater threat than that of North Korea or Pakistan.

"There is a ramified nuclear industry built not to produce a few bombs but fissionable material for dozens and hundreds of nuclear bombs," Steinitz said. "The Natanz facility has about 12, 000 centrifuges and plans to reach 54,000. It would be able to enrich enough uranium to produce 20-30 atomic bombs per annum," he elaborated.

While Israeli former military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin said in April that Iran had crossed the nuclear "red line," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a week later that Iran had not reached the "red line" yet.

Israel and Iran consider each other as dangerous enemies, with Israeli Defense officials often denouncing the "Iranian nuclear threat." Iran, on its part, insists that its nuclear program is for nuclear purposes only.

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