Israel doesn't want to but would strike first against nuclear Iran

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JERUSALEM — Israel does not want to take military action against Iran over its nuclear program, but at some point may have no other option, Israel’s defense minister said Thursday.

At this point, Israel does not intend to launch a strike against Iranian nuclear facilities but it retains the option as a “last resort,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio.

“We don’t need unnecessary wars. But we definitely might be put to the test,” he said. “The non-diplomatic point is a last resort. The fact that all options are on the table is agreed upon
by everybody.”

Israel, like the West, suspects Iran is developing a nuclear bomb, despite Tehran’s insistence that its nuclear program is designed to produce energy.

Israel says a nuclear-armed Iran would threaten the Jewish state’s survival, citing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s repeated references to Israel’s destruction, Iran’s arsenal of ballistic missiles and its support for militant groups that fight Israel.

The U.S. — as well as some security experts in Israel — have loudly opposed the prospect of an Israeli military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, because of its potential for touching off retaliation against Israel and a broader, regional conflagration.