Israel retains the option to use military force to stop Iran's nuclear program but a strike is not imminent, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel radio on Thursday while downplaying the consequences of an Iranian retaliation to such an attack.
"We have no intention, at the moment, of taking action, but Israel is far from being paralyzed by fear, It must act calmly and quietly - we don't need big wars."
Barak said that while he respects the US and believes that Washington is committed to Israel's security and regional qualitative military edge, Israel would ultimately need to act according to its own interests. While he hoped sanctions and diplomacy would succeed in stopping Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapon, "unfortunately, I think that is not going to happen."
"We need to remember that ultimately, Israel is a sovereign state and the government and defense establishment, and not one else, are responsible for Israel's security and future."