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      Report: Iran Thinks Israel is Close to Striking It

      Lebanese newspaper says senior Iranian visited Hezbollah leaders and briefed them on this assessment.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 9/3/2013, 7:45 AM

      Israeli navy Dolphin-class submarine
      Israeli navy Dolphin-class submarine
      Flash 90

      Iran believes that Israel is close to stiking its nuclear facilities, according to a report in Lebanese newspaper Al Jumhuriya, cited by Maariv/NRG. According to the report, a senior Iranian official recently visited Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in his hideout in the Dahiya section section of Beirut to discuss this assessment.

      A senior military source confirmed to the Lebanese newspaper that the meeting had, indeed, taken place, but said that it had not been held inside the Dahiya – a neighborhood controlled by Hezbollah – but outside it.

      The senior source said that the Iranian official is a military officer and that the meeting was devoted to the military and logistical readiness of Hezbollah for a confrontation with Israel, which, he added, is just “a stone's throw away” from Lebanon.

      The source added that less than 48 hours after the meeting, 10,000 Hezbollah guerrillas and unspecified “special forces” began extensive military exercises in southern Lebanon and the Bekaa valley. He said that 10,000 men took part in the exercises, which were the largest of their kind ever conducted in that area. He posited that strengthening Hezbollah in the region is also intended to enable the continued flow of weapons from Damascus to the organization, and especially advanced weaponry.

      The report could be an effort at disinformation and is probably meant to intimidate Israel and hint that Hezbollah – an Iranian proxy force – would fire its missiles at the Jewish state if it attacks Iran. Hezbollah has reportedly promised Lebanon's president, Michel Ayoun, that it would refrain from attacking Israel from Lebanese territory if Israel attacks Syria. It subsequently warned, however, that it would attack Israel from Syrian territory, if Israel strikes Syria.

      Iran is widely believed to have an extensive program for developing nuclear weapons which is deemed to be close to the point at which a weapon can be manufactured - although the regime denies its nuclear program is anything but "peaceful." Israel's leadership sees a nuclear Iran as an existential threat and has vowed numerous times to stop the program by whatever means necessary. However, it has refrained from taking action thus far in the hope that the United States would be the one to force Iran to halt the program – with force, if need be.

      US President Barack Obama's hesitation to launch even a minor strike on Iran's ally, Syria, even after it crossed Obama's self-announced red line and used chemical weapons to massacre civilians, is causing many Israelis to reconsider any faith they had that Obama would take action against the much larger Iranian threat.