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As Israeli-Palestinian talks resumed Wednesday, Sept. 15 in Jerusalem, Hamas cranked up its attacks from Gaza Tuesday and Wednesday morning, shooting three missiles, almost certainly Iranian-made Grades, overnight at the two Israeli port cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod, and another missile and nine mortar rounds by noon Wednesday - 7 against Eshkol region farms and two at Kibbutz Nirim.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said late Monday that "sanctions might not suffice" in curbing Iran's contentious nuclear program, telling Fox News that the Islamic Republic could theoretically have atomic warheads within two years.
"Sanctions might not suffice and we have to start to consider what follows if sanctions won't work," said the defense minister. "Technically, probably they can reach it within a year and a half or two, if they decide to break all the rules. Probably it might take a little bit longer, but the real challenge is that beyond [a] certain point in time, whether they reach [a] nuclear bomb, or cannot reach it, they will become immune against any kind of attack because of the redundancy within their systems."
Barak was visiting Washington at the time of his interview, for talks with high-level U.S. officials including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates.
"I don’t believe sanctions alone would work, but it's too early to put any further steps into concrete terms," he told the U.S. news network. "Basically we believe that no option should be removed from the table. We recommend this policy to friends and I believe that it becomes more and more accepted by leading players around the world."
"Not just for Israel - I believe that even for this administration, for this country, it will part of the way history will judge this period, this administration when it comes to the end of its term whether Iran turned nuclear under this administration's watch or not," he added.
Barak's comments came just hours after U.S. President Barack Obama said that Iran having a nuclear weapon would be a "real problem" but he did not think military action by Israel or the United States was the "ideal way" to solve the crisis.
The United Nations Security Council, along with the United States and the European Union, has imposed tougher sanctions on Iran, which has defied international calls for it to halt uranium enrichment.
Iran says it needs the enriched uranium for the peaceful generation of electricity, but the United States and its allies, including Israel, fear Tehran's nuclear program is a cover to build an atomic bomb.
"We continue to be open to diplomatic solutions to resolve this," Obama told a town-hall style meeting on CNBC. "We don't think that a war between Israel and Iran or military options would be the ideal way to solve this problem."
But Obama too, said that the U.S. is "keeping all our options on the table."