Former IDF chief: Israel must prepare for possible attack on Iran
Gabi Ashkenazi says Israel needs to do all it can to operate under the radar against Tehran, but stresses that military option must be on the table.
Former IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi said Thursday that Israel must operate under the radar against Iran, but it should also prepare for a possible strike against the Islamic Republic's nuclear facilities.
During a lecture at the Institute for National Security Studies, Ashkenazi stressed that Israel's strategy on Iran must be a combination of several approaches.
"Israel must do all it can under the radar and combine that with paralyzing sanctions, but at the same time keep a reliable military option on the table with the willingness to use it if necessary," Ashkenazi said.
"When the moment comes I don't know if we won't be alone, and for this reason Israel must also rely on itself," he said.
During his term as IDF chief, Ashkenazi was considered a supporter of a more moderate approach on Iran, in which all diplomatic options must be exhausted before any attack is launched.
Earlier Thursday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the new round of economic sanctions by the European Union will be "futile," and added that his country was ready to resume nuclear talks with the six world powers - the U.S., China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany.
Ahmadinejad appeared to downplay the impact of a new round of EU sanctions on Iran, including a ban on oil imports, saying that trade with EU states made up only $23 billion of Iran's $200 billion annual trade volume.
"Aren't you ashamed to get together and make such statements. Where do you think you can get with these steps?" Ahmadinejad said.
"They are saying they (EU) do not want to harm the Iranian people, but the steps they take and the language they use are all against the people," he added.
The EU sanctions, as well as similar measures taken by the United States to force Iran to curb its nuclear activities, are believed to have already had an impact on the Iranian economy, with the national currency, the rial, falling drastically in recent days.