Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called for “tight, ratcheted up” sanctions against Iran to force the country to abandon its nuclear ambitions and said the political process had further to go before a military strike.

“We’re still in the sanctions stage and we expect them to become even more tight,” Barak said at a press conference today in Tokyo at the end of a four-day visit. “I think there is consensus in most capitals of the world that Iran should not be allowed to turn into a nuclear military power.”

Military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities must be considered before the country achieves “the same kind of immunity as Kim Jong Il,” Barak said, referring to the deceased North Korean leader who defied international pressure to abandon nukes. The U.S. and Europe have increased sanctions to get the Islamic republic to negotiate and head off conflict in a region holding more than half of the world’s oil reserves.

Iran says its enrichment of uranium is for civilian use while Israel says it is aimed at making weapons.

The international community needs “tight, ratcheted up sanctions against Iran, not only oil but sanctions against the central bank and removing its access to international clearing systems,” Barak said. “This should be done definitively and without delay.”

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