Thursday, December 1, 2011

Barak: Israel may be forced t o act against a nuclear Iran

JERUSALEM – Israel does not want to take military action against Iran over its nuclear program, but at some point may have no other option, the Israeli defense minister said Thursday.

The Jewish state at this point did not intend to launch a strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, but retained the option as a "last resort," Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israel Radio.

"We don't need unnecessary wars. But we definitely might be put to the test," he said.

Barak said he hoped that sanctions and diplomacy would pressure the Iranian leadership to abandon its suspected nuclear weapons program, but did not expect that to happen.

Israel, like the West, is convinced Iran is developing a nuclear bomb, despite Tehran's insistence that its nuclear program is designed to produce energy.

Israel says a nuclear-armed Iran would threaten the Jewish state's survival, citing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's repeated references to Israel's destruction, Iran's arsenal of ballistic missiles and its support for militant groups that fight Israel.

The U.S. -- as well as some security experts in Israel -- have loudly opposed the prospect of an Israeli military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, because of its potential for touching off retaliation against Israel and a broader, regional conflagration.

But Barak suggested that Israel might not alert world powers before embarking on a strike.

"Israel is a sovereign state and it is the government of Israel, the Israeli army and security forces who are responsible for Israel's security, future and survival," he said.

Mysterious blasts, computer viruses and assassinations have disrupted Iran's nuclear program, and there has been speculation of Israeli involvement.

Read more: HERE

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