Ephraim Halevy
Ephraim Halevy Israel news photo: Flash 90

Israel is likely to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities in a matter of weeks, former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy indicated, speaking to the New York Times.

“If I were an Iranian, I would be very fearful of the next 12 weeks,” he warned.

American officials quoted by the paper seemed eager to avoid an Israeli strike. “The more the Israelis threaten, the more we respond by showing them that we will take care of the problem if it comes to that,” said former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk.

United States Defense Secretary Leon Panetta repeated the Obama administration’s approach, calling to “exhaust every option, every effort,” before taking military action. However, Panetta issued a strong warning to Iran, telling reporters, “This is not about containment. This is about making it very clear that they are never going to be able to get an atomic weapon.”

America has “options that we are prepared to implement” to ensure that Iran does not get nuclear weapons, he said.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned that any American plans must be carried out quickly. “Right now the Iranian regime believes that the international community does not have the will to stop its nuclear program,” he said. “This must change and it must change quickly because time to resolve this issue peacefully is running out.”