EU 'underestimates' Iran threat, Czech premier charges

European UnionTel Aviv - The European Union "underestimates the Iranian threat," Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said in remarks quoted Sunday. In an interview with the Ha'aretz daily as he wrapped up a visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Topolanek, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, added however that he believed that "at this very moment, there is no imminent threat of a war between Israel and Iran."

Israel regards Iran as its biggest existential threat, given Tehran's nuclear programme, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's repeated statements that the Jewish state should be wiped off the map.

New Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman are especially vocal regarding Iran, but the Czech leader said their rhetoric was "understandable."

"The fact that Iran is a threat whose danger can be magnified if the country will have a nuclear weapon - that is something the entire world knows about. The fact that the EU is somewhat underestimating this threat is also true," Topolanek said.

"Nevertheless, all of us are looking at this twin track approach toward Iran. I think that there is still time for hard power against Iran, but only after all soft-power means have been already used. At this moment I see an Israeli attack against Iran as very improbable."

The issue of Iran, he continued, was uniting the entire region.

"For the first time, Israel and the Arab countries feel that they are facing the same threats. And under the pressure of this threat a solution must be found." (dpa)