Barak: ‘Iran poses no immediate existential threat to Israel’


Apr. 19, 2010 – 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.

The defense minister’s remarks came in response to a statement by Pentagon officials on Sunday, who said that U.S. President Barack Obama’s national security advisers were considering a broad range of options to curb Iran’s nuclear program, among them military strikes, if diplomacy and sanctions fail.

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 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.

The comments underscored the difficult choices facing Obama in trying to keep Iran from getting a nuclear bomb without setting off a broader conflict.

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.”…

Photo:  A Tel Aviv beach on Friday.  Hundreds of thousands of tourists are still visiting the country each month. Nearly 300,000 tourists arrived in Israel in July, a record for the month and an 8% increase over the previous July. The Israeli Tourism Ministry: ‘Each month of 2012 has set an all-time record for the month.’  
Iran, a ‘threat to Israel’ ?


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