JERUSALEM ““ “A military strike on Iran is growing more likely than the diplomatic option,” President Shimon Peres said in an exclusive interview, adding that it seems that “Iran is getting closer to a nuclear bomb. It will probably happen within one year.”

Peres added, “Iran is nearing atomic weapons and in the time left we must turn to the world’s nations and demand [they] fulfill their promise…, which is not merely passing sanctions. It must be understood that this problem is not just ours, but the entire world’s. Iran threatens not only Israel. What needs to be done must be done, and there is a long list of options.”

Media reports speculating about whether Israel decided to strike were premature, Peres said. “I do not think a decision has been made, but there is a sense that Iran is well on its way to having nuclear arms.”

Peres said he believes the Iranian regime’s days are numbered. “They are corrupt people who exploit their population, most of whom are poor. Their government continues to arm Hezbollah and in the end it will work against them. What message are they trying to send their people?” Peres asked.

Any potential military strike, however, would be kept entirely under wraps, he said. “Telling the enemy our intentions is unacceptable. We must maintain our operational plans discreetly.”

Peres spoke only days before the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog released its much-anticipated latest report into Iran’s nuclear program. In that report, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it had obtained its strongest confirmation yet that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons at its Parchin military base. (See page 29.)

Any evidence of nuclear weapons activities serves to strengthen calls for further sanctions against Iran. Although no direct threats of military action on Iran have been made by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, both Israel and the United States have repeatedly hinted at the possible use of force, saying all options were on the table.

Israel Hayom/JointMedia News Service