After US President Barack Obama said he did not think military action byIsrael or the United States was the "ideal way" to solve the nuclear crisis with Iran, Defense Minister Ehud Barak insisted that "all options must remain on the table."
Barak, who met with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen in Washington on Monday, said Iran was continuing to deceive the international community and called for harsher measures against Tehran in light of the recent report issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
"Iran is continuing to move forward with its military nuclear program despite the sanctions," Barak said. "As far as Israel is concerned, all options must remain on the table."
During the meeting, Gates told the Israeli defense minister that the US shares Israel's concerns about Russia's plans to sell anti-ship cruise missiles to Syria. Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said that Gates also raised the issue with a Russian delegation visiting the Pentagon last week. When asked for specifics, Morrell would say only that Gates asked his Kremlin counterparts to be "mindful" of the strategic consequences of such sales.
According to Morrell, Gates told Barak that he worried the sale could further "destabilize" the Middle East.
News of the sale emerged on Friday when Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov told reporters in Washington that Moscow would fulfill a 2007 contract to supply Yakhont cruise missiles to Damascus.
The sale, worth at least $300 million, will see Syria receiving around 72 cruise missiles, the Interfax news agency said on Sunday.
During a separate meeting with National Security Adviser General Jim Jones, Barak expressed concern that the missiles would eventually be transferred to Hezbollah.
AFP, AP contributed to the report
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