Defense Minister Ehud Barak hinted that a military strike on Iran was possible
when he told the BBC that diplomacy was the preferred method to halt Tehran’s
nuclear program, but that no option was off the table.
A nuclear Iran
“can open a major nuclear arms race in the region,” he said.
'World leaders must meet their commitments to stop Iran'
PostScript: When the public gets taken for a ride
interview was aired Sunday, just days before the International Atomic Energy
Agency was due to issue a report on Iran’s nuclear program
Barak said a
nuclear Iran would change the balance of power in the region, including the
sponsorship of terror and the intimidation of its neighbors.
Barak told the BBC, as the US is moving out of the region.
believe that sanctions are effective and could be effective if they are
paralyzing enough, that diplomacy could work if there is enough unity,” he
Then he added, “no option should be removed from the table. The
Iranian challenge is serious,” Barak said. “This is something that should be
prevented from happening. We live in a tough neighborhood, no mercy for the weak, no second opportunity for those who can not defend
His statements come in the aftermath of a week of media
speculation that Barak and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu are soliciting
cabinet support for a military strike against Iran. A number of ministers,
including Bennie Begin and Dan Meridor, have criticized as dangerous the
speculation and informational leaks regarding a military strike against
On Sunday President Shimon Peres told Army Radio the open dialogue
on an Iranian military strike should be stopped.
Still at numerous
meetings in Israel and abroad in recent months Peres has unfailingly issued dire
warnings about Iran and its nuclear program.
He did so again when meeting
with Druse leaders. He declared that Iran is not only a danger to Israel but to
the whole world. But he insisted that alertness to the perils posed by Iran
should not blind anyone to the possibilities for peace with the Palestinians.
Peres also reiterated his call to world leaders who had pledged to prevent Iran
from going ahead with its nuclear program to honor their commitment.
radio and television interviews over the past couple of days, Peres referred to
the likelihood of an attack on Iran, but did not specifically say or even hint
that such a drastic measure would be an Israeli initiative.
agencies from a number of countries that are monitoring what goes on in Iran are
increasingly perturbed and are pressuring their leaders to take preventive
action, said Peres.
A senior Iranian cleric on Sunday dismissed talk of a
military strike by Israel as empty propaganda, taunting the Jewish state for
screaming “like a cornered cat” rather than roaring like a lion.
recent threats of the Zionist regime against Iran are more for internal
consumption for themselves and their masters who are struggling with the Wall
Street movement,” said Ayatollah Mahmoud Alavi, referring to anti-capitalism
protests that began in New York and have spread around the world.
is a difference between the roar of a lion and the scream of a cat that has been
trapped in a corner,” he said. “And this threat of the Zionist regime and its
master America is like the scream of a cornered cat.”
Alavi, a member of
the Assembly of Experts, a body that appoints and supervises Iran’s supreme
leader, said Israel would not dare attack Iran.
“If they make such a
mistake they will receive a crushing response from the Islamic Republic,” he
told the official IRNA news agency.
Iran says it would respond to any
attack by striking US interests in the region and could close the Gulf to oil
traffic, causing massive disruption to global crude supplies.
Foreign Minister Alain Juppe spoke Sunday against a military strike on Iran and
said France preferred to harden sanctions against the country.
attacks on Iran could create a “totally destabilizing” situation in the region,
“We can still strengthen [sanctions] to put pressure on Iran
and we are going to continue along this path because a military intervention
could create a totally destabilizing situation in the region,” Juppe told Europe
1 radio. “We must do everything to avoid the irreparable.”
report is expected to give fresh evidence of research and other activities with
little other application than atomic bomb-making, including studies linked to
the development of an atom bomb trigger and computer modeling of a nuclear
Sources briefed on the report also say it will include
information from both before and after 2003 – the year in which US spy services
estimated, in a controversial 2007 assessment, that Iran had halted outright
“The primary new information is likely to be any
work that Iran has engaged in after 2003... Iran is understood to have continued
or restarted some research and development since then,” said Peter Crail of the
Arms Control Association, a USbased advocacy group.
The sources familiar
with the document said that among other things it would support allegations that
Iran built a large steel container for the purpose of carrying out tests with
high explosives applicable to nuclear weapons.
“This is not a country
that is sitting down just doing some theoretical stuff on a computer,” a Western
official said about the IAEA’s body of evidence, which is based on Western
intelligence as well as the agency’s own investigations.
The report is
tentatively scheduled to be submitted to IAEA member states on November 9 before
a quarterly meeting the following week of the agency’s 35- nation board of
governors in Vienna.
It “will be followed by a US-European Union push for
harsher sanctions against Iran at the UN Security Council, where Western powers
will meet stiff resistance from Russia and China,” said Trita Parsi, an expert
on US-Iran relations.