Nightly News | February 03, 2012
>>> a strong warning to iran today from defense secretary leon panetta . do not develop a nuclear weapon . if iran does, panetta says the u.s. is prepared to respond. this follows a report that panetta believes an israeli attack on iran 's nuclear facilities is likely within months. it's all adding to fears that the situation could spin out of control. our report tonight from chief foreign correspondent richard engel in tel aviv .
>> reporter: from iran today, an unmistakable warning. the supreme leader said his country would remove israel like a cancerous tumor, and the united states would pay ten-fold for any attack on iran . it's iran 's response to a growing chorus of israeli officials who say iran's nuclear program must be stopped or else israel will attack it.
>> we are determined to prevent iran from turning nuclear.
>> reporter: it may be just saber-rattling, but defense secretary panetta doesn't think so, and reports that he believes israeli attack is likely, sending a public message to an ally washington is finding increasingly difficult to con control. wait, it says, let sanctions take their course. israel says it will, but not forever. and israel says it can destroy even iran 's most defended nuclear sites.
>> i believe that the weight of the nuclear project in iran with all the protections and all the defensive measures, which has been made by human beings can be penetrated by human beings .
>> reporter: but why the rush? israel estimates iran could have a nuclear weapon within a year. israel believes with each month iran's nuclear program gets more advanced, more entrenched and could achieve irreversible momentum, a point where even an israeli air strike wouldn't slow it down. israel says it cannot wait for that to happen, but the cost of an attack would like lly be iranian missiles falling here in tel aviv . ron baruto showed us his family's bomb shelter . he's making sure it's ready.
>> we'll probably have to put this room into use.
>> reporter: every israeli apartment built in the last 20 years must have a bomb shelter . these are gas masks ? every israeli is issued a gas mask . being prepared doesn't mean all yaizys think attacking iran is a good idea.
>> if missiles fly to israel , not to the united states .
>> reporter: washington is calling for patience. israel says it doesn't have much left. iran is saying, don't even think about attacking us and showed off today its rocket technology, launching a satellite into orbit. iran insists that its nuclear program is peaceful, that no decision has been taken to actually build any weapons, and points out that israel does have nuclear weapons . lester?
>> richard engel in tel aviv , thanks.