JERUSALEM- Defence Minister Ehud Barak played down on Tuesday speculation that Israel intended to strike Iranian nuclear facilities, saying it had not decided to embark on any military operation.
"War is not a picnic. We want a picnic. We don't want a war," Barak told Israel Radio before the release this week of an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran's nuclear activity.
"(Israel) had not yet decided to embark on any operation," he said, dismissing Israeli media speculation that he and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had chosen that course.
But he said Israel had to prepare for "uncomfortable situations" and ultimately bore responsibility for its own security. All options to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions should remain open, he said.
The IAEA report is widely expected to strengthen suspicions that Iran is seeking to produce nuclear weapons despite its statements that its uranium enrichment programme is aimed at power generation.
"I estimate that it will be quite a harsh report ... it does not surprise Israel, we have been dealing with these issues for years," Barak said.
"We are probably at the last opportunity for coordinated, international, lethal sanctions that will force Iran to stop."
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