Israeli Calls Iran Attack Unavoidable

JERUSALEM -- An Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear sites looks "unavoidable" given the apparent failure of sanctions to deny Tehran technology with bomb-making potential, an Israeli Minister said Friday.

"If Iran continues with its program for developing nuclear weapons, we will attack it. The sanctions are ineffective," Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz told the mass-circulation Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

"Attacking Iran, in order to stop its nuclear plans, will be unavoidable," said the former army chief who has also been defense minister.

It was the most explicit threat yet against Iran from a member of Olmert's government, which, like the Bush administration, prefers to hint at force as a last resort should UN Security Council sanctions be deemed a dead end.

Mofaz also said in the interview that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for Israel to be wiped off the map, "would disappear before Israel does."

A spokesman for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert did not address Mofaz's comments directly but said that "all options must remain on the table" and said more could be done to put financial pressure on Tehran.

Mofaz's remarks came as he and several other senior members of Olmert's Kadima Party prepare for a possible run for top office should a corruption scandal force the Israeli prime minister to step down.