Israel not excluding any option in stopping Iran threat

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Friday that the Jewish state is not ruling out any option when it comes to dealing with Iran’s nuclear program.

When meeting visiting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Barak was quoted by local daily The Jerusalem Post as saying that Israel is “not taking any option off the table, and we don’t recommend that others take any option off the table.”

Israel is convinced that Iran is still pursuing nuclear weapons, Barak said, insisting that Iran is continuing to trick the world by means of its negotiations over the monitoring of its nuclear activities, said the report.

The defense minister said he believed that leaders of the free world are aware of these developments, which must be taken into account in any future decision.

During the meeting with Rice, Barak referred to U.S. President-elect Barack Obama’s declaration that he would be prepared to engage in dialogue with Iran, according to the report.

On Thursday, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that Obama should not talk to Iran, for such dialogue could project “weakness.”

The United States, Israel and their Western allies accuse Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons, but Iran insists that its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes.