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Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Tuesday that Israel's response to the Iranian nuclear program will be measured by results on the ground.

Barak told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that "the things that we do behind the scenes, far from the public eye, are far more important than the slogan charade. Talks don't make threats go away. We must show good judgment and act wisely."

Also during the session, Maj. Gen. Yossi Baidatz, head of research for Military Intelligence, said that Iran was getting steadily closer to developing a weapon.

"If nothing stops Iran, the worst-case scenario is that by the end of 2009, Iran will have a nuclear weapon," he said.

Iran insists its nuclear program is peaceful, but its assertions are widely disbelieved. The program has especially rattled Israel because Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly called for its destruction.

Israel has mounted a diplomatic offensive to try to build international support for tougher UN sanctions meant to persuade Tehran to abandon its nuclear program.

Officials met with all permanent members of the UN Security Council last month to push for new sanctions. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made a snap trip to Moscow, followed by a trip to London and Paris and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni made the case with officials in China.

Russia and China are at the forefront of resistance in the Security Council to slapping new sanctions on Iran.