Vice PM: Strike on Iran Could Be Necessary

Vice Prime Minister and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon says the civilized world must take joint action to avert the Iranian nuclear threat.

Vice Prime Minister and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon says the civilized world must take joint action to avert the Iranian nuclear threat, including a pre-emptive strike if necessary.

The former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff made the statement Monday in an interview with Russia's Interfax news agency ahead of a visit to Moscow.

Ya'alon wouldn't discuss who might deal the strike, saying the entire world, not just Israel, must be concerned about the danger posed by a nuclear-armed Iran.

Ya'alon's spokesman Ofer Harel told The Associated Press later Monday that the minister was repeating Israel's position that all options are on the table and not calling for anybody to attack Iran.

Iran has insisted its nuclear program is peaceful, but the U.S., Israel and many others believe it is cover for developing atomic weapons.

Iran flatly denied this claim recently, with Iran's nuclear envoy saying it would be a "strategic mistake" to build atom bombs.

Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), also insisted during a public debate that sanctions and the Stuxnet computer virus had failed to slow the Islamic Republic's disputed nuclear program.

"Please be assured that none of the sanctions have affected our nuclear activities ... 100 percent sure," he said.

Western analysts say increasingly tough sanctions on Iran as well as Stuxnet and possible other sabotage have delayed Iran's nuclear progress, even though they say the country now has enough low-enriched uranium for two bombs if refined more.