Barak: “The Only Way out of Iran Crises is a Bold Israeli Move”
Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio on Monday that the only way out of the current “stalemate” with Iran is a bold Israeli move, adding that he felt that Iran did not pose an “immediate existential threat” to Israel.
Barak also responded to remarks by Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said Sunday that the military options available to Barack Obama would go “a long way” to delaying Iran’s nuclear progress but may not set the country back long-term. He called a military strike his “last option” right now.
Barak told Israel Radio that the time has come for sanctions with a specific deadline “in order to facilitate what Mullen’s remarks imply.”
“I prefer to refrain from speculation about the future,” Barak added. “Right now, Iran does not pose an existential threat to Israel. If Iran becomes nuclear, it will spark an arms race in the Middle East. This region is very sensitive because of the oil flow, the region is important to the entire world. The fact that Iran is not an immediate threat, but could evolve into one, means that we can’t let ourselves fall asleep.”
On Sunday, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, releasing a statement about a secret memorandum he sent to the White House in January, said he identified “next steps in our defense planning process” that would be reviewed by decision makers in the coming weeks and months.
“There should be no confusion by our allies and adversaries that the United States is properly and energetically focused on this question and prepared to act across a broad range of contingencies in support of our interests,” Gates said in the statement, issued to refute characterizations of the memo in a New York Times report.