JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said strengthening the Iran also strengthens the terror groups it finances, trains and arms.
Ya'alon spoke about the dangers of Iran's nuclear military program on a state visit to Ottawa to meet with Canadian Foreign Minister Robert Nicholson.
"One way or another, Iran's military nuclear program must be stopped," Ya'alon said. "We must continue with harsh sanctions on the diplomatic front, while presenting a credible military threat."
Ya'alon said Iran has spread its terror tentacles to "every conflict in the Middle East" while establishing terror bases in Asia, Africa and South America.
Iran's mission is to defeat Western culture in whatever way it can.
"The Iranians want -- under the cover of the nuclear umbrella that they will have -- to advance their terror activities, such as using a dirty bomb at various targets in the Western world," Ya'alon said. "Therefore, we must not tolerate the possibility of a nuclear Iran."
Ya'alon said easing economic sanctions at this point would encourage countries to increase trade with Iran, which in turn would strengthen its terror networks in Lebanon, the Gaza Strip and elsewhere.
"If Iran gets stronger, Hezbollah and the Islamic Jihad will get stronger," he warned. "These are forces that will challenge both the West and us."
Ya'alon also spoke of the increasingly close military ties between Israel and Canada.
"The strong ties between Canada and Israel are based on our shared values, including democracy and the rule of law," he said. "Our cooperation in terms of defense is continually improving, and I am confident that we will find avenues to expand our defense relations even further in the near future."