Ehud Barak: U.S. Has Contingency Plan for 'Surgical' Strike on Iran

Outgoing defense minister says he's confident U.S. has plan for military operation in case diplomatic efforts fail; senior Iranian official says Iran would consider an attack on Syria like on attack on itself.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail

Outgoing Defense Minister Ehud Barak says he is confident the U.S. has a plan for a 'surgical operation' against Iran, which would only be used in the event that diplomatic efforts to convince the country to drop its military nuclear program do not succeed.

"What we basically say is that if worse comes to worst, there should be a readiness and an ability to launch a surgical operation that will delay them by a significant time frame and probably convince them that it won’t work because the world is determined to block them,” Barak told The Daily Beast in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"It is not an issue of a major war or a failure to block Iran. You could under a certain situation, if worse comes to worst, end up with a surgical operation," he said, adding, "We of course prefer that diplomacy will do."

Iran threatens against attack on Syria  

Meanwhile, a senior Iranian official was quoted on Saturday as saying that Iran would consider any attack on Syria an attack on itself, in one of Tehran's most assertive defenses of its ally yet.

"Syria has a very basic and key role in the region for promoting firm policies of resistance... For this reason an attack on Syria would be considered an attack on Iran and Iran's allies," said Ali Akbar Velayati, an aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to the Mehr news agency.

Iran is a key supporter of Syrian President Bashar Assad and has already repeatedly warned the West against intervening in the conflict against Assad.

In September, an Iranian military official was quoted as saying Iran would take action if the United States was to attack Syria.

The two countries signed a mutual defense pact in 2006, but little is known of its details or whether there are any other signatories.

Iran accuses the West of supporting and arming the Syrian rebels, while the rebels accuse Iran of sending fighters from its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to help Assad crush the uprising.

Iranian banknotes and foreign coins are displayed by a vendor in Tehran on Jan. 23, 2013. Iran's national currency lost nearly 40 percent of its value in 2012.Credit: AP