'Chance for Iran diplomacy fading, military option closer'

Peres tells Channel 2 time running out, Iran close to becoming nuclear-armed; contends it is Israel's role to warn world leaders of threat.

Shimon Peres 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Shimon Peres 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
President Shimon Peres on Friday said that he believes Israel is closer to utilizing the military option in dealing with Iran's nuclear program than it is to finding a diplomatic solution to the threat.
In an interview with Channel 2, the president suggested that the media speculation about a potential attack on Iran may have some basis in truth. "Intelligence services in many countries are looking at the clock and warning their leaders that not much time remains. I do not know if these world leaders will act on this advice."
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Peres said that Iran could be as close as six months from becoming nuclear-armed and it is Israel's role to warn the world of the danger. He suggested that the speculation about an attack on Iran may be a way of reminding the world of the Iranian threat.
Earlier on Friday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Israel's position on Iran has not changed, despite recent Israeli media reports of a possible strike on Iran.
Next week, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear watchdog, is expected to release a report that includes evidence of Iranian nuclear research which makes little sense if not weapons related, Western diplomats said. The report, however, is expected to stop short of declaring outright that Iran is attempting to develop nuclear weapons.
"I propose we wait and see the IAEA report," Barak said, adding that he believes that if the UN nuclear watchdog will be "daring enough to say bluntly what they know about [Iran's] nuclear program," the world will understand the Iranian threat is international.
Speaking in an interview with Stephen Sakur on the BBC, the defense minister repeated Israel's position that Iran must be prevented from obtaining nuclear weapons and that no options should be taken off the table to that end.
Meanwhile on Friday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy condemned Iran's nuclear program and said France would not stand idly by "if Israel's existence were threatened." Sarkozy was speaking at a G20 summit of world leaders .
"Iran's behavior and this obssessional desire to acquire nuclear military (capability) is in violation of all international rules, and France condemns firmly the lack of respect for these rules," he said in the French Riviera resort of Cannes.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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