Barak not optimistic about int'l will to stop Iranian nukes

Defense minister: IAEA report presents best opportunity to impose "deadly sanctions"; Israel does not want war, hasn't authorized any operation.

Ehud Barak 311 (R) (photo credit: Reuters)
Ehud Barak 311 (R)
(photo credit: Reuters)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that he is not optimistic that the international community has the will to come together in order to put a stop to Iran's nuclear program, in an interview with Israel Radio Tuesday. Nonetheless, the short period of time following the impending release of an Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Tehran's nuclear program presents the best opportunity for convincing the world to act against Iran.
While the defense minister said he was not optimistic about any international action against Iran, specifically "deadly sanctions" targeting its financial institutions as well as physical sanctions, "I hope it will happen," he said.
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Addressing the IAEA report, the reported contents of which have been leaked to various international newspapers in recent days, Barak said, "we've known these things for years."
"We know more [about Iran] than The Washington Post knows and we know more than the IAEA does," he added.
Israel is expecting the United States to take the lead in pushing the United Nations and other Western countries to impose tougher, new sanctions on Iran following the publication of the incriminating IAEA report.
The report is tentatively scheduled to be published on Tuesday or Wednesday. Some of the sensitive information expected to be revealed in the report is believed to have come from intelligence agencies in the US and the United Kingdom.
Asked whether Israel needs the approval of the United States to launch an attack on Iran, the defense minister said that Israel appreciates and respects the United States and that Washington stands with Israel in many different ways, but that at the end of the day, "Israel is a sovereign state."
The government has been working for years at showing the world that the problem of a nuclear-armed Iran is one that affects the whole world, not just Israel. But Israel is responsible for her own safety and protecting herself, Barak said.
Jerusalem does not want war, he said in the interview, but even if it is drawn into a war against its will, fears of mass casualties are unfounded. "There's no chance in such a situation for 500,000 killed, not 5,000 or even 500 killed."
He added that no decision had been taken regarding a military operation.
One of the consequences of the Arab Spring, the defense minister explained, is that Israel must be able to rely upon itself.
"Israel is the strongest country in the region and it will stay that way," he said.
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