By ANNE GEARAN, AP National Security Writer Anne Gearan, Ap National Security Writer –
JERUSALEM – Israel hardened its insistence Monday that it would do anything it felt necessary to stop Iran from getting a nuclear bomb, just the ultimatum the United States hoped not to hear as it tried to nudge Iran to the bargaining table.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates reassured Israel that the new Obama administration was not naive about Iran's intentions, and that Washington would press for new, tougher sanctions against the Iranians if they balk. He didn't say what those might include.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak used a brief news conference with Gates to insist three times that Israel would not rule out any response — an implied warning that it would consider a pre-emptive strike to thwart Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.