Israel on Iran: Military Option 'Remains on the Table'

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Recent headlines around the world suggest the likelihood of an Israeli attack on Iran has been reduced.

But top Israeli military officials tell a different story. If the latest news of a lowered chance of attack is correct, then no one has told Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

"I believe it is well understood in Washington, D.C., as well in Jerusalem that as long as there is a future existential threat to our people, all options from Iran getting nuclear weapons should remain on the table and they will," Barak recently said.

He added that it's crystal clear that Iran wants a nuclear weapon, but not everyone believes the facts.

"Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be eliminated from the page of time," he said. "Even the moderates have labeled what they call the 'zionist' entity a one bomb state."

Some diplomats said they were encouraged by the last round of negotiations between Iran and the so-called "P5+1" -- a coalition of leaders from the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany

But Barak said Iran's actions speak louder than their words. He warned time is running out.

"We are approaching what I have termed the immunity zone: the moment when Iran's nuclear military program will be sufficiently developed and suitably concealed rendering the facilities immune to any surgical attacks," Barak explained.

Barak, Israel's most decorated soldier, said a military strike might be a less dangerous option than a nuclear Iran.

"It will be complicated with certain associated risks," he admitted. "But a radical Islamic Republic of Iran with nuclear weapons would be far more dangerous both to the region and indeed to the whole world."

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