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Israeli Defense minister implies a strike on Iran nuclear program is near

The current standoff with Iran is similar to the 'fateful' period before the 1967 Arab-Israel war, when Israel launched a preemptive strike, said Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

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Israel Defense minister Ehud Barak delivers his speech at the Herzliya Conference in Herzliya near Tel Aviv Thursday. He compared the current standoff with Iran to the 'fateful' period before the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, when Israel launched a preemptive strike against Egypt.

Nir Elias/Reuters

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Tensions between Israel and Iran are on the rise after a group of top Israeli leaders engaged in a round of saber-rattling on Thursday and Iran’s Supreme Leader answered on Friday with a pledge to "remove" Israel.

Speaking at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center's annual conference, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak compared the current standoff with Iran to the "fateful" period before the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, when Israel launched a preemptive strike against Egypt.

At the same conference, Israel’s military intelligence chief, Aviv Kochavi said that Iran had enough nuclear material to make four bombs, and could construct a missile within three years. Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon warned that "an unconventional country can’t be allowed to have a nonconventional weapon" and that "a nuclear Iran would be the nightmare of the West."

Even though Israeli leaders have been heartened by international sanctions targeting Iran's nuclear program, which Iran insists is for peaceful purposes only,  the chorus of warnings from Israel reflect growing anxiety among some leaders that Iran may still obtain a nuclear bomb.  

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