'Iran delays nuke program, stalling moment of truth'

Barak tells 'Daily Telegraph' Tehran's decision to use uranium for civilian purposes postponed military nuclear program.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
October 30, 2012 21:11
2 minute read.
Ehud Barak at conference

Ehud Barak at Independence press conference 370. (photo credit: Ricardo Mallaco)

Iran used over a third of its medium-enriched uranium for civilian purposes earlier this year, and with that delayed its military nuclear program, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph on Tuesday.

Barak told The Daily Telegraph that without this delay, the conflict with Iran would have escalated before the US presidential election.

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The defense minister added he did not believe sanctions and diplomacy would succeed in resolving the situation. He predicted Israel and the US would likely have to face "the moment of truth" - the decision of whether or not to launch a military strike against the Islamic Republic's nuclear facilities - in eight to ten months.

Barak mulled possible reasons behind the delay in Iran's nuclear program, purporting that there could be a minimum of three explanations: "One is the public discourse about a possible Israeli or American operation deterred them from trying to come closer."

"It could probably be a diplomatic gambit that they have launched in order to avoid this issue culminating before the American election, just to gain some time. It could be a way of telling the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) 'oh we comply with our commitments,'" he said, adding that it could be a combination of all three elements.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told French magazine Paris Match that an Israeli military strike on Iran would benefit Arab states,removing a potential threat and easing tensions across the Middle East.

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Tehran denies its nuclear work has any military dimensions but governments in Europe and the United States are increasingly concerned over its intentions.

Diplomacy and successive rounds of economic sanctions have so far failed to end the decade-old row, raising fears of Israeli military action against its arch-enemy.

Analysts say Iran already has enough low-enriched uranium for several nuclear bombs if it were refined to a high degree, but may still be a few years away from being able to assemble a missile if it decided to go down that path.

Western diplomats say Iran appears to have nearly finished installing centrifuges at an underground nuclear plant, potentially boosting its capacity to make weapons-grade uranium if it chose to do so.


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