Barak: World’s paralysis over Syria bodes ill for bid to halt Iran’s nuclear program


Speaking to the Washington Post, defense minister says all options on the table to stop Iran from going nuclear, adding there were ‘a lot of preparations on the technical level.’


The international community’s “paralysis” in the face of ongoing strife and violence in Syria highlights the importance of a unified global front against Iran’s nuclear program, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in an interview to U.S. media on Wednesday.

Barak’s comments came on the heels of a recent round of P5+1 nuclear talks with Iran in Moscow earlier this week, which ended in apparent failure after the sides were unable to reach an agreement on the inspection of certain nuclear and military installations.

Speaking about the prospect of resolving the West’s nuclear standoff with Iran through diplomatic means, Barak told the Washington Post on Wednesday that while Israel hoped “it will be solved by the free will of the ayatollahs, by the effectiveness of the sanctions, by the creativity of diplomacy or by any other miracle.”

“When we say that we are determined to prevent them, and we should all be determined, including the American leadership, the European leadership, the Russians, the Chinese, we mean what we say and that is all I can say,” Barak said.

The defense minister then indicated that the international community’s lack of resolve in dealing with ongoing Syria violence served as a warning against such inaction with Iran, saying Syrian President Bashar Assad was “living proof of the paralysis that sometimes takes over the world, even when there is no need for any further proof that something totally unacceptable that costs human life is happening.”

“Basically, [Assad] is slaughtering his own people and using every form of crime. Here you have real-time pictures of the actual crimes, the rows of buried children,” Barak told the Washington Post.

In an apparent link between the crisis in Syria and the standoff with Iran, Barak said that the world’s lack of resolve on Syria showed that “even when there is no need for any further proof, however tangible and visible the nature of the crimes, it doesn’t mean the world can mobilize the will to do something about it.”

“It’s a fact of life that we should bear in mind when we look at the overall picture around us. We are living in a tough neighborhood — no mercy for the weak, no second opportunity for those who cannot defend themselves. We have to be able to defend ourselves,” he added.

When asked whether or not Israel would launch a nuclear strike against Iran, the defense minister said: “You can’t expect me to answer directly.”

“We [the United States and Israel] are using the same rhetoric when we say that we are all determined to prevent Iran from turning into a nuclear military power, and we both say that all options are on the table. We mean it and we recommend to them to mean it,” he added.

Asked whether he felt the United States sincerely meant it weighed all options, Barak said: “At least on a technical level, there are a lot of preparations,” adding, however, that it was “not a secret that America prefers that it will be solved through diplomacy. We all hope that [diplomacy] will be successful, but time is not unlimited in this regard.”

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