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Israel on Iran: All options still on table

  • Story Highlights
  • Reports surface that Israel has taken military option off the table regarding Iran
  • Russian president says Israeli official tells him, "We will not deal such a blow"
  • But Israeli officials say "all options are open" on Iran to prevent nuclear capability
  • Israeli paper says Israel played role in U.S. changing missile defense plans on Iran
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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israel on Monday restated its long-standing policy regarding Iran after Russia's president indicated that Israel had taken the military option off the table.

The Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, says, "Israel has the right to defend itself."

The Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, says, "Israel has the right to defend itself."

"Contrary to reports, all options [are] on the table on the issue of preventing Iranian nuclear weapons capability," Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon posted on his Twitter account.

The Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, also weighed in, telling Israel Army Radio that "Israel has the right to defend itself, and all options are open."

"The IDF's working premise is that we have to be prepared for that possibility, and that is exactly what we are doing," he said.

The issue stems from reports that Israel may have struck a deal with Russia regarding Iran and its controversial nuclear program.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told CNN's Fareed Zakaria last week that Israeli President Shimon Peres told him in a recent visit to the Russian leader's vacation home that "Israel doesn't intend to deliver any strike against Iran."

"[Peres] said we are a peaceful country, we will not deal such a blow," Medvedev said in the interview, broadcast Sunday on "Fareed Zakaria GPS."

"Therefore any deliveries of systems -- defensive systems -- which are aimed at protecting cannot increase danger, they should reduce it."

Medvedev was referring to Russia's agreement to sell Iran its S-300 anti-aircraft missile system, which he said is in keeping with international law.

The Israeli newspaper Maariv reported Monday that Peres used his influence to persuade Washington to abandon its plans to base a missile defense shield system in Poland and the Czech Republic, a proposal that had rankled Moscow.

In exchange, Moscow agreed to support "imposing sanctions on Iran," Maariv reported.

The United States and Russia have disagreed over Iran and over possible steps the U.N. Security Council may take -- including imposing sanctions -- to push Tehran to comply with U.N. demands concerning its nuclear program.

President Obama told CBS' "Face the Nation" that his objective in revamping the U.S. defense shield plan "was not to negotiate with the Russians."

"The Russians don't make determinations about what our defense posture is," Obama said in the CBS interview shown Sunday.

"If the byproduct of it is that the Russians feel a little less paranoid and are now willing to work more effectively with us to deal with threats like ballistic missiles from Iran or the nuclear development in Iran, you know, then that's a bonus."

CNN's Kevin Flower and Michal Zippori contributed to this report.

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