(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Monday that Israel would take all necessary steps to defend itself from a possible Iranian nuclear attack, and denounced Tehran's nuclear talks as an attempt to buy time to develop arms.
Mofaz said Israel backed US and European calls for the issue to go to the Security Council.
Israel considers Iran to be its biggest threat, and concerns have been heightened in recent months by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's calls to wipe Israel "off the map."
"As for the possibility of an Israeli attack (on Iran), I think it is not at all right to address this question publicly, but it can be said that Israel has the right and the obligation to do all that is necessary to defend itself," Mofaz told students at a Tel Aviv-area high school.
Israeli planes destroyed Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor, near Baghdad, in a 1981 strike using conventional munitions.
Mofaz implied that while Israel was ready to let diplomacy run its course for now, it would not stand by indefinitely.
"In addition to joining the nations of the world who think that the right course at this moment, at this hour, in these days and in this year is to try and stop this threat by diplomatic efforts at the Security Council, we also owe it, primarily to ourselves, to deal with everything that ensures the existence of the state of Israel for all eternity, and we are doing so," he said.