US-Israel Rift Over Military Strike on Iran?

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JERUSALEM -- A former Israeli military intelligence chief says Iran now has everything it needs to build a nuclear bomb.

The word comes as Gen. Martin E. Dempsy, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, arrives in Israel for the first time on Thursday.

The visit may not be a friendly one because there's word of a rift forming between the United States and Israel over a military strike on Iran.

Prior to Dempsey's meeting, some reports suggested the U.S. is pressuring Israel not to attack Iran's nuclear facilities without U.S. approval.

Israeli Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel addressed, but did not deny, those suggestions earlier this week. Eshel said a nuclear-armed Iran could change the world.

"We have a very endemic and deep professional discussion with the U.S. military and the defense establishment," former Ambassador to the U.S. Zalman Shovel said.

Shoval said those bilateral discussions will be important.

"Because there may be a certain debate going on between experts, Israeli experts American experts, whether the Iranians are one year away or two years away from the bomb," he explained.

The U.S. and Israeli intelligence officials may not agree on Iran's nuclear timetable, but two recent announcements have raised the stakes between Iran and the West.

First, Iran announced it would start enriching uranium in its underground facility at Fordow. This makes a potential military strike much more difficult.

Iran also said it would close the strategic Strait of Hormuz if the U.S. and European Union implemented severe sanctions against its oil exports.

If Iran did try to close the Strait, it would likely use shore-to-ship missile batteries equipped with Chinese-made silkworm missiles, seen in exclusive CBN News satellite photos. They're located on Abu Musa, one of the islands controlled by Iran in the Strait.

Meanwhile, Russia announced this week that it would stand by Iran in case of any attack.

"Iran is our neighbor and if Iran is involved in any military action, it's a direct threat to our security." Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's outgoing ambassador to NATO, told reporters earlier this week.

Even so, Iran remains a potential threat to Israel's very existence and a deadly danger to other countries as well.

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