Israel's Barak: Decision on Iran attack 'far off'

January 18, 2012 - 4:55 AM

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's defense minister says his country is "very far off" from deciding on whether to launch a military strike on Iran's nuclear program.

Ehud Barak did not specify when such a decision might be made, in his interview Wednesday with Army Radio.

He also denied Israeli media speculation that Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, would use his visit here on Thursday to pressure Israel not to attack.

Barak said the U.S. respects Israel's freedom of action and that the Israeli government doesn't "have the luxury" to "roll over responsibility" for Israel's fate to the U.S.

Israel considers Iran its most fearsome enemy and does not believe Tehran's claims that its nuclear program is designed to produce energy, not bombs.