A senior Israeli official has told Haaretz that the situation on the Iranian front is more critical now than the situation Israel faced in the tense days prior to the 1967 war.

"The sword at our throat is a lot sharper than the sword at our throat before the Six-Day War," the official said.

For the first time, the official broached the claim that Israel would drag the United States into an attack on Iran.

"We will absolutely not deliberately drag the United States into a war. If we decide to undertake an operation, it must be an operation that does not rely on the expectation of igniting some large chain reaction. A country does not go to war in the hope or expectation that another country will join it. Such an act would be an irresponsible gamble."

However the official, known for his sharp analytical skills, said the question was "How you define backing," and continued: "Was there backing in the Six-Day War? Do you think that in 1967 the Americans told Foreign Minister Abba Eban and Mossad chief Meir Amit anything different than what they're telling us now? But then Eban saw difficulty in the opportunity and Amit saw an opportunity in the difficulty, and the Eshkol government made a decision. And what was that all about? About the closure of the Straits of Tiran?

According to the official, if Iran obtains nuclear arms, it will goad its neighbors and adversaries and will be unstoppable. "What happened in the Rhine in 1936 will be child's play compared to what will happen with Iran," he said, referring to the entry of German forces into the Rhineland in 1936 in violation of the Treaty of Versailles.

"All the moderate forces around us will be significantly weakened and heavy storm clouds will gather over the Middle East. The region will not be the same region and the world will not be the same world, and our lives will not be the same either. We will live under the shadow of a permanent storm," the official said.

"Israel is a strong nation," he continued. "We have good capabilities. The number of dead to be expected on the home front in the event of war with Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas is less than the number of casualties in the Fourth Battalion of the Harel Brigade in 1948. But in 1948 it was clear to all that there was no choice. And that gave us national strength and resilience. If it turns out that now, too, there is no choice, we will also need that national strength. Remember that in any dimension - including in terms of preserving human life - dealing with a nuclear Iran will be much more complicated than dealing with preventing a nuclear Iran," the official said.