Photo Credit: Leon Panetta and Ehud Barak: Ariel Hermoni/ Flash90

Iran has the capability to produce an atomic bomb within a year, according to US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in an interview on CBS News Monday night.

Panetta told CBS News anchor Scott Pelley that Iran could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year – and that is in the event that Iran does not have a hidden facility enriching fuel already.

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The US will “deal with” an Iranian weapon, with “whatever steps [are] necessary to stop it” if need be, said Panetta.  “That’s a red line for us and that’s a red line, obviously, for the Israelis, he said.  “There are no options off the table,” he added.

Speaking at Washinton’s Saban Center for the Middle East on December 2, Panetta said Israel should not take unilateral action against Iran, saying that any military option should be a last resort, and taken in coordination with the United States.

To that, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak responded that “Israel is responsible for its security, its future and its existence,” and would not “wait and say ‘we will see if they have a bomb and then we will act’.”  He emphasized that “no option should be taken off the table”.

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