Israel, US 'determined' to halt Iran nuclear drive: Barak
JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse
Israel's Defence Minister Ehud Barak reacts as he attends a plenary session during the World Policy Conference at the historic Hofburg palace in Vienna December 11, 2011. REUTERS PhotoIsrael and the United States are determined to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and do not rule out any option to that end, Israel's defence minister said on Sunday.
"Our two countries clearly believe that a nuclear Iran is neither conceivable nor acceptable and we are determined to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons," Defence Minister Ehud Barak told public radio, two days after meeting US President Barack Obama.
"We reiterated the fact that we must not take any option off the table," Barak said.
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Obama said Washington had "worked painstakingly" with its allies to halt Iran's nuclear programme, which Israel and Western governments suspect is cover for a drive for an atomic weapon.
Obama said recently-imposed Western sanctions were the "most comprehensive, the hardest-hitting" ever faced by Iran and vowed that the international community would "keep up the pressure." He also vowed to "take no options off the table." Last week, Israeli chief of staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz announced the formation of a new military command that will be in charge of strategic "depth" operations outside the borders of Israel and the Palestinian territories. Media reports said the Depth Corps was likely to be engaged at some level in disrupting Iran's nuclear programme.
Last month, the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, said it had credible information that Iran was carrying out "activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device." Iran insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful medical and power generation purposes only.
Israel is widely suspected to have the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear arsenal.