Friday, June 22, 2012

"Iran is a radical Muslim theocracy that is trying to reach nuclear military power" - Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barack

Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barack
In a wide ranging interview with Slate Magazine, Israeli Defense Ehud Barack made clear that Israel would attack Iran before it allowed the Iranians to become a nuclear power.  Barack did not say so explicitly, but when asked about Israel's capability to successfully launch a military strike against Iran, he simply replied "You cannot expect me to answer this directly".  Barack also made clear that he does not consider the Iranian nuclear program a purely Israeli concern, but one for the United States as well.

What was interesting about the Slate piece is that it was a wide ranging interview, in which Barack discussed a number of other topics, including the Egyptian elections, the situation in Syria and the relationship with the Palestinians.  Below is a quick summary of what Barack said:

  • Iran is clearly heading towards becoming a nuclear power, and they are dragging out the negotiations with the world powers;
  • In the meantime, Iran is trying to reach a "zone of immunity" against an Israeli or American attack by burying their facilities as deep underground as possible;
  • The IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] reported that they found certain materials enriched to 27 percent at Iran's underground facility at Fordow.
  • Barack is still hoping that the Iranian nuclear program can be stopped by negotiations or sanctions;
  • On Egypt, Israel is concerned about terror attacks from the Sinai against Israeli territory, and the Israelis are building a border fence to separate Israel from the Sinai;
  • On Syria, Barack believes the fall of the Assad regime would be a major a major blow to their main allies Hezbollah and Iran, but that there must be plans to secure Syria's chemical weapons so that these weapons do not fall into the wrong hands.

Here is the full Slate article.

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