Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon Israel news photo: (file)

Israel's warnings that it will not tolerate an existential threat in the form of a nuclear Iran should be taken seriously, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon warned in an interview with the Britain-based Sky News on Friday.

"The one who's bluffing is Iran, which is trying to play with cards they don't have," Ayalon told the news network. "All the bravado that we see and the testing and the very dangerous and harsh rhetoric are hiding a lot of weaknesses."

Israel has repeatedly warned the Islamic Republic -- and the rest of the world -- that it will not allow Iran to complete its nuclear development program and create an atomic weapon to be aimed at the Jewish State.

"If Iranian behavior and conduct continues as they have exhibited so far, it is obvious that their intentions are only to buy time and procrastinate," Ayalon said. He pointed out that negotiations with Western nations have not resulted in any reduction in Iranian nuclear activities.

Iran has vowed to continue all of its nuclear development programs regardless of what proposals for alternatives are offered by Western nations in diplomatic talks. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared last Sunday that Iran is negotiating with the West from a position of power, and compared the power of Iran's enemies to that of "a mosquito."

IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi politely warned the Islamic Republic in September that the Jewish State is prepared to defend itself against any nuclear or other attack it might be inclined to launch.

"We all understand that the best way of coping [with the Iranian nuclear threat] is through international sanctions]" Ashkenazi told an interviewer on IDF Army Radio. However, he added, "Israel has the right to defend itself, and all options are open."