"The United States is Israel's principal ally and despite the differences on and the importance of keeping Israel's ability to operation independently, we must also keep in mind the strategic importance of the partnership with the United States, and refrain from hurting it," he said.
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"The Iranian challenge is a complex one, for both Israel and the world," the defense minister said in what has already been described as a highly unusual statement.
"Israel reserves the right and responsibility to make whatever decision necessary for its security and future and the United States respects that.
"Despite this share goal, there are some differences between the US' and Israeli positions. These differences should be resolved behind closed doors."
As Israel's most prominent ally, he added, Jerusalem and Washington enjoy "Intimate intelligence ties and the US is Israel's main back-up when it comes to security.
"The relationship between the United States and Israel are based on a friendship that goes back years and on shared values," Barak said.
Also Tuesday, US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro said that a nuclear Iran is an "unacceptable threat" to both Israel and the US.
The US, he stressed, is "deeply committed to the Jewish people" and the American people share many of the concerns that Israel has.
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