Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday said that a recently disseminated US
intelligence report is closer than ever to Israel’s own intelligence estimates
The latest US estimate, he told Israel Radio, gives much more
urgency to stopping Iranian nuclear proliferation.
“As far as we know it
[the intelligence assessment] brings the American assessment much closer to
ours... it makes the Iranian issue even more urgent and [shows it is] less clear
and certain that we will know everything in time about their steady progress
toward military nuclear capability,” the defense minister told Israel
“We and the Americans agreed not to allow Iran to develop nuclear
weapons and all options are on the table,” Barak said.
however, it is the Israeli government that will make decisions regarding its
security and future, he added.
The defense minister also addressed
criticism of the government’s perceived decision-making process, saying that the
cabinet would need to approve any military strike on Iran.
description in the media as if two people are sitting around and hatching attack
plans is utterly ridiculous,” he proclaimed.
Earlier in the week, Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu once again shot down the idea that a nuclear-armed
Iran could be contained. If Iran gets a nuclear bomb, it may actually use it, he
said in a meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr on
That the Iranians might actually use the bomb is a reality that
cannot be denied, Netanyahu said.
“This is a regime that has broken every
rule in the book,” he added. “They very likely could use weapons of mass
Netanyahu said there was an illusion among many in the world that
if Iran acquired nuclear weapons, it would behave responsibly like the world’s
other nuclear states.
The prime minister, during the discussion dominated
by the Iranian issue, said Iran is governed by a “fanatical regime” that sees
itself on a sacred mission of global Islamic domination, and destroying Israel
was just one step toward its larger vision.
Everyone talks about the cost
of stopping Iran, “but they shouldn’t ignore the cost of not stopping Iran,” he
Netanyahu’s comments came a week after he said the country’s
elected political leadership, and not the defense and security establishment,
would make the decision to attack Iran.
Those remarks followed media
reports of Israel’s top security officials opposing an Israeli attack without US
Herb Keinon and Reuters contributed to this report.