In an interview with Fox News, Barak said Iran could obtain nuclear capabilities within a year-and-a-half to two years, adding that its continued construction of underground facilities would make a strike more complicated.
"We don't have to be frightened by the declarations of (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad, but at the same time we have to take Iran's determined movement toward nuclear military capability and its insistence on cheating and (deceiving) the whole world – we have to take it seriously; I believe that the whole world has to take it seriously," the defense minister, who is on an official visit to the US, told "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.
"A nuclear Iran will be the end of any non-proliferation regime; it will start an arms race towards nuclear capacity among several members of the Middle Eastern community - it will give a tailwind to (global jihad)," he said.
According to Barak, the sanctions imposed on Iran "might not suffice," adding, "We have to start considering what follows if sanctions won't work."
During his meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton overnight Tuesday, Barak said Israel wants peace but expects that any agreement will safeguard its security interests. Israel also expects the US to work towards maintaining the Jewish state's military edge in the Middle East, he said.
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