WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday called for actions against Iran to stop it from acquiring nuclear weapons, saying "the time had come."
However, he declined to say directly whether his country would attack Iran, noted "I don't think that that is a subject for public discussion."
"But I can tell you that the IAEA report has a sobering impact on many in the world leaders, as well as the publics, and people understand that the time had come," he told the CNN TV network in an interview.
He was referring to the report released on Nov. 8 by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which outlined alleged activities pointing to clandestine nuclear bombs making by Iran, prompting the U.S. and some European nations to mull expanded sanctions on the Middle East country.
Days before the release of the IAEA report, Israeli media reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Barak were seeking cabinet support for a military strike on Iran.
Barak said IAEA head Yukiya Amano "told straightly what he found," making Iran's nuclear program "a major issue for sanctions, for intensive diplomacy, with urgency."
"People understand now that Iran is determined to reach nuclear weapons. No other possible or conceivable explanation for what they have been actually doing. And that should be stopped," he said.
Barak alleged that a nuclear Iran would turn the whole region nuclear, including regional powers like Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt, as well as triggering the risk of letting nuclear materials fall in the hands of terrorists.
"Let me tell you, we recommend for a long time to all players to act sincerely and intensively to ...deprive them or prevent them from turning nuclear," he said. "And we have kept recommending to all to leave no option, not to remove any option from the table."
"We mean it. We take it upon ourselves. We expect it from others the same way," he added.