Barak: Iran nuclear program not aimed solely at Israel
Defense minister says Israel must convince world leaders to impose tough sanctions on Iran since its nuclear program threatens the entire world order.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned Thursday that the Iranian nuclear program is not aimed solely at Israel, and urged world leaders to impose further sanctions on the Islamic republic.
Speaking with Army Radio from Canada, Barak said Israel is currently struggling to recruit the international community to stand firm against Iran and impose concrete sanctions in order to stop its nuclear program.
"In order to do this," he explained, "we must convince world leaders and the public that the Iranian nuclear program is not only targeting Israel, but the foundations of the entire world order as well."
Barak denied telling Charlie Rose in a PBS interview that if "I was an Iranian, I too would want a nuclear weapon," saying he only meant it hypothetically and explained that he is not deluding himself into thinking that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon only to attack Israel.
Meanwhile, head of the National Security Council Yaakov Amidror leveled criticism of former head of the Mossad, Meir Dagan, over his role in the Israeli debate over an attack against Iran.
Addressing the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, Amidror alluded to Dagan's public opposition to an Iran strike, saying, “some of the people in the civil service get confused and think that they have a better understanding of the world than decision-makers do.”
“If have an understanding of the world, then they should stand for election to the Knesset,” he said.
The International Atomic Energy Agency recently issued a damning report on Iran's nuclear program. It found that Iran appeared to have worked on designing a nuclear weapon and may be continuing research relevant to that end.
The International Atomic Energy Agency will host a forum next week among its member states, including Israel and Arab countries, to consider setting up a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the Middle East.
Iran, which was asked in September whether it would attend, has not yet replied and is unlikely to take part, said diplomatic sources at the agency's headquarters in Vienna.
The forum, initiated by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, is part of the agency's efforts in recent years to persuade Israel to open its nuclear facilities to IAEA supervision and sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The idea of a nuclear-weapons-free Middle East came from Arab states headed by Egypt, which have been raising this demand at every international forum for years.