Defense Minister Ehud Barak is the first senior Israeli official to express qualified support for the prospect of American-Iranian dialogue over Tehran's contentious nuclear program.
Speaking at a conference of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, Barak said: "There is sense in brief and purposeful dialogue with Iran, on condition that if it turns out that it continues to deceive the world and is producing nuclear weapons, there will be a way out of this obligation."
However, turning his attention to the possibility of a military strike on Iran, the defense minister said: "We are not taking any option off the table, and we recommend to the world not to take any option off the table, and we mean what we say."
Barak also warned that if Iran acquires a nuclear weapon, it could try to attack the United States.
"If it built even a primitive nuclear weapon like the type that destroyed Hiroshima, Iran would not hesitate to load it on a ship, arm it with a detonator operated by GPS and sail it into a vital port on the east coast of North America.
Another danger alluded to by Barak was the possibility that Iranian nuclear weapons would encourage Arab states to also acquire nukes.
"I do not view any kind of world order with Iran in possession of nuclear weapons," he said. "Neighboring countries in the region, or even just some of them, will embark on efforts to build or acquire a nuclear weapon as well."