Barak: Nuclear Iran Would Ignite A Regional Arms Race

Article Summary
Israel's Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, has voiced doubts over the effectiveness of sanctions against Tehran in stopping the Iranian nuclear drive, noting, "The clocks in Israel and the United States are ticking at a different pace." He says a nuclear Iran could set off an arms race key regional players will have no choice but to join.  

Israel's Defense Minister has voiced doubts over the effectiveness of sanctions against Tehran in stopping the Iranian nuclear drive, noting, "The clocks in Israel and the United States are ticking at a different pace."

In his address at the traditional Israeli Defense Ministry's Independence Day reception in April, Defense Minister Ehud Barak chose to focus on the Iranian nuclear issue, and took advantage of the opportunity to reiterate the Israeli stance regarding a preemptive military operation. "A nuclear armed Iran would set off a regional nuclear arms race," Barak warned. "Saudi Arabia, Turkey and even Egypt would have no choice but to join the race. A nuclear Iran would back the Hezbollah, the Islamic Jihad and the Hamas far more assertively in sowing terror in the region and throughout the world."

Barak acknowledged the danger inherent in a military operation against Iran, admitting that "dealing with the persistent Iranian endeavor to obtain nuclear military capability is a complex and risky mission whose outcome is unpredictable. However," Barak warned, "having to deal with the challenge of a nuclear armed Iran, once the Ayatollahs regime manages to get hold of such nuclear capability, would be immeasurably more complex, dangerous and costly, in terms of both human lives and financial resources. Now is the time, before it is too late, for the entire international community to join forces in an effort to swiftly and firmly stop the Iranian nuclear program. The sanctions currently imposed [on Iran] are harsher than those previously applied, but the truth is that, even under these pressures, the prospects of Iranian compliance with the international demand that Tehran irreversibly stop its nuclear program seem rather slim. I hope I am wrong. However, this is my assessment, and it is based on long years of watching the maneuvering tactics employed by Iran."

Barak noted that the Iranian regime is concerned over the prospect of an American or international military strike in the event the talks on international monitoring of Iran's nuclear activity fail, and that the Iranians are thus reinforcing their nuclear installations' shielding, spreading out their nuclear facilities and stepping up uranium production in all of these facilities. Barak described the decision makers in Tehran as sophisticated and calculated, pointing out that they seek to remain in control and make use of devious means to accomplish their goals.

Referring to the dialog between Israel and the United States on the issue, Barak noted that notwithstanding the deep understanding between the two countries, there were differences of approach. "These differences originate in the different pace at which the clocks in Israel and the United States are ticking," Barak said."The clock in Israel, whose capabilities are more limited, is ticking faster than that of the United States. However, the American Administration too understands and accepts that Israel should be able to defend itself on its own."

At the event, Barak awarded merit certificates to the companies involved in the development and production of the Iron Dome rocket defense system, which has already proven its effectiveness — Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd, the Israel Aerospace Industries' ELTA Systems and mPrest Systems Ltd. A personal merit certificate was awarded to Brigadier-General Doron Gavish, the commander of the Israeli Air Defense Command in charge of operating the Iron Dome batteries, which so far intercepted no less than 93 rockets.

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Found in: turkey, saudi, nuclear, israel, iran
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