Defense Minister Ehud Barak _311.
(photo credit: Reuters/Blaire Gable)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak cast doubt Thursday on the success of upcoming nuclear negotiations between the West and Iran.
the strongest-ever sanctions against the Islamic Republic, Barak said
in an Independence Day speech, "the chances that, at this pressure
level, Iran will respond to international demands to irreversably stop
its program seem low. I would be happy to be proven wrong."
United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia (the P5+1) are
due to meet Iran for a second round of nuclear negotiations on May 23
Warning that a nuclear-armed Iran would set off a
regional nuclear arms race with Saudi Arabia, Turkey and "the new
Egypt," Barak said the Iranian nuclear issue was a "challenge for the
whole world." The more countries have nuclear know-how, he added, the
more likely nuclear technology would leak to terrorist groups.
with Iran's determination to achieve military nuclear capabilities is
not devoid of complexities, dangers or unpredictable results," he said.
But dealing with the challenge of a nuclear-armed Iran would be
"infinitely more complex, infinitely more dangerous, infinitely
expensive in human lives and financial resources."
President Shimon Peres said
in a Thursday interview with Channel 10 that the world's stance against
Iran's nuclear program would make it impossible for Iran to triumph on
"There is no chance Iran will triumph over the world,
and there is every chance the world will triumph over Iran," Peres said,
asking rhetorically whether Iran or the world was under greater
Asked whether he could understand Iran's desire to
develop nuclear capabilities, Peres replied, "I can understand it, but I
cannot justify it."