Barak - AP - March 24, 2011
Defense Minister Ehud Barak Photo by AP
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Defense Minister Ehud Brak criticized on Monday comments made by Israel's ex-Mossad chief, who said a military strike on Iran would be a "stupid thing."

Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan's comments "hurt Israel's ability to deter" Barak said during an interview with Israel Radio.

"Any ability to disperse the ambiguousness surrounding the issue of Iran" hurts Israel's standing against Iran, the defense minister said. Barak said that the military option against Iran must remain on the table so that international efforts to stop Iran's nuclear program are effective.

"There is no decision to attack Iran," Barak clarified. "We don't make decisions beforehand for hypothetical situations. I don't think that anyone would be happy to pull the trigger on a military operation against Iran."

Last month, Dagan made the comments about Iran while speaking in public at a conference of the senior public service organization, held at Hebrew University. This was Dagan's first public appearance since he left the service at the end of 2010.

Dagan says that Iran has a secret infrastructure for its nuclear program which is working in parallel with the legitimate, civilian program, but only the latter is under international inspection.

"Any strike against that [the civilian program] is an illegal act according to international law," Dagan said.

Dagan warned that an air force strike against Iran has "potential for significant complications and it is best to avoid war (s) with non-beneficial results and also those with no lasting effect. It is important to remember that war is only one option among many alternatives."

Barak also commented on the events Sunday when hundreds of Palestinian tried to cross the border from Syria into Israel. Israel accuses President Bashar Assad of creating this provocation in an effort to divert world attention from the ongoing bloody repression of pro-democracy protests in Syria

"I think he will fall. He has lost his legitimacy," said Barak, a former prime minister who in 2000 held indirect peace talks with Assad's father and predecessor, Hafez al-Assad.

"If today he stops using force, he'll be seen as weak and will be toppled. If he continues, the killing will go deeper and the cracks will begin to appear within the army as well," Barak told Israel Radio. "In my opinion, his fate has been decided."