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      Iran 'Overstating' Its Abilities; Israel Ready

      Netanyahu, Peres, Barak tell graduating IAF pilots Iran is overstating its abilities and, while Israel seeks peace, its first priority is security.
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 6/30/2011, 10:05 PM / Last Update: 7/1/2011, 3:13 AM

      Israel's leaders told a graduating class of Israel Air Force pilots on Thursday that Iran is overstating its abilities and that Israel is ready to defend itself.

      The comments come as Iran conducts its annual "Great Prophet 6" war exercises. Iran claims it has tested new rockets and radar systems improving its capabilities vis-a-vis Israel and US interests in the region.

      IDF Chief of staff Benny Gantz opened the ceremony with an emphatic voice.
       
      "Our strength is the strength of a strong and sturdy spirit... not belligerent, but determined and willing to hurt anyone who wants to come at us."
       
      "We will continue to stand tall, firm, ready, and armed to face of any attempt to harm the State of Israel," Gantz added.
       
      Taking the podium, Israeli President Shimon Peres said Iran is "exaggerating its military ability, but Israel is well aware of the dangers it faces."
       
      "I suggest Iran not underestimate Israel's capabilities, even if it does not make them public… Iran's leaders publically threaten Israel's existence and invest a fortune in their terrorist military array... but we know how to deal with the Iranian danger without forfeiting our own desire for peace," Peres said.
       
      "I wish the Iranian people a future free of tyrants and hatred," Peres added.
       
      Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke after Peres, focusing on the Gaza flotilla and Hamas.
       
      "Israel faces many challenges," Netanyahu said. "There are constant attempts to undermine our borders and our very existence. The IDF and other security forces will rise to the challenge and raise our defensive capabilities to new heights."
       
      "Israel is steadily growing stronger. We are ready for any challenge. Out ability to defend ourselves is the foundation of our existence and a foundation of the future peace with our neighbors," Netanyahu continued.
       
      Taking the opportunity to comment on this year's Gaza flotilla, Netanyahu said "Israel has the right to act against attempts to further missile, rocket and arms smuggling into the Hamas terror enclave.
       
      "I wish to thank the many world leaders who expressed their support and acted against this provocation flotilla, including the US, Europe, the UN secretary general and the prime minister of Greece. Hamas is a cruel enemy who maliciously harms our people and children and holds Gilad Shalit captive against all humane standards," Netanyahu said.
       
      Defense Minister Ehud Barak also spoke, telling the new warriors Israel's first priority was its own security.
       
      "We are facing serious challenges, such as Iran, Hizbullah and other radical elements. We are at the heart of a hostile environment, where the language of power and force is the only one understood," Barak said.
       
      "Israel is strong and has deterence, and it is from this position of power that Israel seeks peace," Barak continued. "It is our duty as leaders to exhaust every possibility to reignite the peace talks with our neighbors, while maintaining Israel's security interests - but that takes a partner."
       
      Barak concluded his speech by addressing the issue of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
       
      "We all want to see Gilad home," he said, "but not at any price."