Israel ‘very far off’ from decision to attack Iran

Barak’s comments come as U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey is headed to Israel this week to meet with top Israeli officials. It’s almost assured that Dempsey will discuss strategies toward Iran.

Iran has ratcheted up tensions with the United States in recent weeks as the United States and Europe prepare economic sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program. The United States and allies say Iran is enriching uranium to build weapons, while Iran insists it is doing so for peaceful purposes.

After Iran moved uranium production to an underground facility earlier this month, speculation grew that Israel might strike Iran without U.S. cooperation to stop the country from obtaining a weapon.

The United States has said that Iran obtaining nuclear weapons is a “red line” that it won’t let Iran cross.

Haaretz, an Israeli daily, wrote Wednesday that the Israelis believe Iran has not yet decided whether to use its increasing nuclear capabilities to produce a weapon.

Barak didn’t speculate about what “very far off” meant as to when Israel might decide on an attack.

“I wouldn't want to provide any estimates,” Barak said. “It's certainly not urgent. I don't want to relate to it as though tomorrow it will happen.”