WASHINGTON - Iran is less than a year away from being unstoppable in its goal of producing a nuclear weapon, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in an interview with CNN released on Saturday.
In an advance transcript of an interview to air on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" program on Sunday, Barak said Israel was focused on the prospect of a nuclear Iran and what "should and could be done about it on time."
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"It's true that it won't take three years, probably three quarters [of a year] before no one can do anything practically about it because the Iranians are gradually, deliberately entering into what I call a zone of immunity, by widening the redundancy of their plan, making it spread over many more sites with many more hidden elements," he said.
Barak said a report earlier this month by the UN nuclear watchdog
that Tehran appeared to have worked on designing an atomic bomb and may
still be conducting secret research had had a sobering effect on world
leaders and was driving urgent, intensive diplomacy.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report confirmed
long-standing concerns that Iran aims to build a nuclear weapon, which
Israel sees as a threat to its existence. Tehran has said its nuclear
program is for peaceful purposes.
"I don't think that that is a subject for public discussion," Barak said
when asked whether Israel was prepared to attack Iran to stop its
He said a nuclear Iran would have deep repercussions for the Middle
East, prompting countries like Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Egypt to "turn
nuclear" and starting a countdown to putting nuclear materials in the
hands of terrorists.
Barak declined to comment on widespread speculation an explosion at an Iranian military base
last week that killed 17 troops including an officer regarded as the
architect of Iran's missile defense systems was the work of Mossad.
"No. I don't know anything that I can contribute to this conversation," he said.