JERUSALEM, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has warned that his country is "committed to doing everything it can in order to stop Iran from going nuclear," according to a statement Xinhua obtained Thursday.
In an address to graduates of the army's National Security College on Wednesday, Barak said he is "fully aware of the difficulties and complexities involved in preventing Iran from attaining nuclear weapons."
Israel is facing "difficult and fateful decisions" in weighing methods of thwarting what many in the West believe is a clandestine Iranian nuclear weaponization program, Barak said.
Iranian officials contend that their program has only peaceful and medical goals.
However, Barak said that "having to deal with the challenge" of an Iran possessing nuclear bombs "would be many times more complex, dangerous and costly, both in terms of human life and in terms of resources, than a preemptive strike."
The remarks by the Israeli leaders come on the heels of recent statements by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that "There are currently 11,000 centrifuges active in enrichment facilities," 1,000 more than previously known by the International Atomic Energy Agency, according to a report in May.
The Iranian president made the statements during talks with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other senior Teheran officials, according to The Jerusalem Post.
"They (the West) explicitly say they need to increase pressures, tighten sanctions to force Iranian authorities to reconsider their calculations," Khamenei said in comments broadcast on state television, "But a look at the facts leads us not only to avoid reconsidering our calculations, but to move on our intended path with greater confidence."
Barak, however, asserted that "the Iranians are determined to continue deceiving the entire world, in order to achieve nuclear weapons. Whoever wants proof just need to look at the talks over the last few months, including the most recent talks in Moscow," calling Iran's nuclear program "a unique challenge" to Israel, one "with the potential to develop into an existential threat."
Barak said Israel would remain responsible for its own security, rather than depending on other states, such as the United States.
Referring to the last two years of tumultuous changes in the region, Barak said the so-called Arab Spring "has slowly become an Islamic Summer," a development that "teaches us that in the moment of truth, we can only rely on ourselves."
The defense minister insisted that "America understands that the government of Israel -- and it alone -- holds the ultimate responsibility of the decisions that affect the security and future of the State of Israel," adding that "there is a need to keep all options on the table."