'Saudis, Egypt will seek nukes if Iran gets them'

In interview with US broadcaster, Barak concedes if he were in Iran's place he would "probably" try to acquire nuclear weapons.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
November 16, 2011 23:16
1 minute read.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak

Ehud Barak 311. (photo credit: Ariel Tarmoni/Defense Ministry)

 
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Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that if Iran succeeded in developing a nuclear weapon, a Middle East arms race would ensue with Saudi Arabia and Egypt eventually seeking nuclear weapons as well.

Speaking in an interview with US broadcaster Charlie Rose aired Wednesday, Barak conceded that if he were in Iran's place he would "probably" attempt to acquire a nuclear weapon.

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Barak said that he did not believe Israel was the sole impetus for Iran's drive to attain nuclear weapons.

"Iran sees India, China, Pakistan and allegedly Israel around them with nuclear weapons" and they want them themselves, Barak stated.

In discussing the dangers that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose, Barak cited the recent western intervention in Libya as an action that could not have occurred had Muammar Gaddafi possessed a nuclear weapon.

The defense minister repeatedly refused to discuss a possible Israeli strike on the Islamic Republic's nuclear facilities, only reiterating the Israeli refrain that "no option should be taken off the table."

Barak stated that if the nations of the world were to unite on tough enough sanctions against Tehran, the Islamic Republic would be forced to abandon its nuclear program. However, he added that he harbors "no illusions" that such a step is imminent. Barak stated that the countries of the world have not been able to muster the "political will" to pass paralyzing sanctions in the UN Security Council.

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Also on Wednesday, Barak's office issued a statement denying reports that he had canceled an appearance in Washington at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's urging in order to avoid discussion of a potential attack on Iran.

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