IDF chief of staff: Iran most dangerous country in region

Kochavi said the threat Iran poses to the entire Middle East extends beyond its quest to acquire nuclear weapons.

By JNS

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi warned on Sunday that “Iran has become the most dangerous country in the Middle East.”

Speaking at a ceremony at IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv marking a change in the leadership of the IDF Planning Directorate, Kochavi said the threat Iran poses to the entire Middle East extends beyond its quest to acquire nuclear weapons.

The Islamic Republic “has made considerable progress in its nuclear program, but the nuclear [threat] is no longer the only threat,” said Kochavi. “True, [Iran] is in the third circle [of threat], but it is most influential in the first and second circles.”

The IDF defines the three concentric circles of threat — the first being non-state actors on Israel’s borders, such as Hamas and Hezbollah; the second being neighboring hostile states; and the third being countries that do not share a border with Israel, such as Iran.

“Iran also holds conventional weapons,” continued Kochavi. “It is supporting and financing our enemies in the first circle, primarily Hezbollah, it has influence and supports Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, and it is behind attempted terrorist attacks against Israel in a variety of fields, near and far.”

In addition to Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar taking over command of the Planning Directorate (which has been renamed the Force Design Directorate) from Maj. Gen. Amir Abulafia, Maj. Gen. Tal Kalman was installed during Sunday’s ceremony as the new head of the IDF’s newly created Strategy and Third-Circle Directorate, which will mainly focus on Iran.