Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday stressed that Israel is not playing games when it comes to striking Iran, if all other options fail in preventing the Islamic republic from obtaining nuclear weaponry.
Speaking at a ceremony for fallen soldiers at Kibbutz Mishmar HaSharon, Barak said that Israel is not just trying to persuade the international community to apply more pressure, the Times of Israel news site reported.
"We're not playing games here. These are genuine, serious matters. Underpinning all the preparations and the activities, there has to be a willingness to tackle the real challenge if it comes," Barak told local media.
The Israel-Iran war of words has gone in crescendo in the last months, with Israel threatening to take military actions against Iran if economic and political sanctions fail to deter Tehran from pursuing nuclear weaponry.
"We really have to be ready for every kind of test. I don't want to elaborate as regards our capabilities, but when we speak to our friends about not taking any options off the table, we mean what we say," Barak stressed.
Israel suspect that Iran's nuclear program aims at nuclear weapons, although Iran insists that it is of peaceful purposes.
Barak's words came a day after Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said that the Israeli army is prepared to launch an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities once a government decision to that end is made.
"The State of Israel thinks that a nuclear-armed Iran a very bad thing that must be stopped... We're preparing our plans accordingly," Gantz told Yediot Aharonoth daily.