Xinhuanet.com – February 27, 2010
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak raised doubts Friday on the likelihood of an Iranian nuclear strike on his country.
"I don't think the Iranians, even if they got the bomb, (will) drop it in the neighborhood," he told a forum sponsored by Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
"They fully understand what might follow. They are radical but not totally crazy," said Barak, who is in Washington calling for stricter U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Iran has a quite sophisticated decision-making process and understands the reality, he added.
However, the Israeli defense chief did not specify how his country would react to a possible Iranian nuclear strike.
He stressed the necessity of "significant and effective sanctions within a time limit," adding that Israel will "carry a certain skepticism and think thoroughly and in a constructive manner about what should happen if, against our hopes and wishes, it won't work."
In Washington, Barak met top U.S. officials to coordinate positions on the Iranian nuclear issue. He held talks with Vice President Joseph Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen.
After a failed year-long engagement to persuade Tehran to abandon its nuclear program, the U.S. government is now seeking broader international support to impose tougher sanctions on Iran.
Both Israel and the United States believe that Tehran may obtain the uranium fuel needed for nuclear weapons by the same process to purify uranium. But Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purpose.
Israel has labeled Iran's nuclear program as a major threat to its security, and refuses to rule out the possibility of launching unilateral military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.
Israel is widely believed to be the only Middle East state in possession of nuclear weapons, although it has been all along ambiguous on its nuclear status.
Last updated 02/03/2010